Belgian Prime Minister Affirms F-16s for Ukraine Bound to Ukrainian Territory

Belgium has promised to deliver the first F-16 to Ukraine before the end of 2024
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  • 01:39 PM, May 28, 2024
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Belgian Prime Minister Affirms F-16s for Ukraine Bound to Ukrainian Territory
Belgian F-16AM fighter jet @via Ukrainian media

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo reiterated during a press conference on May 28 that the F-16 fighter jets and other armaments supplied to Ukraine under the recent security agreement will be exclusively deployed within Ukrainian borders.

The security pact, finalized earlier the same day between De Croo and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, outlines Belgium's commitment to provide Ukraine with 30 F-16s by 2028, with initial deliveries slated by year-end. Belgium joins Norway, Netherlands, and Denmark in collectively pledging 85 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

During his visit to Belgium, President Zelensky unveiled a comprehensive plan that includes Belgian military aid amounting to approximately €977 million for Ukraine this year. However, despite these assurances, Ukraine is still awaiting the delivery of the first batch of F-16s pledged by multiple NATO allies.

De Croo's announcement follows his earlier commitment, made last year, to supply F-16s to Ukraine by 2025, contingent upon the approval of the incoming government after Belgium's upcoming elections in June. However, he underscored the government's determination to expedite the process, with the aim of delivering the first aircraft before the end of 2024.

The clarification regarding the limited usage of F-16s comes amidst ongoing discussions among Western nations regarding the permissibility of Ukrainian military operations, including potential strikes within Russian territory. Ukrainian officials have expressed frustration over existing restrictions, citing impediments to addressing Russian forces near Kharkiv Oblast in May. The debate has prompted calls from various nations, including Lithuania, Czechia, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, urging allies to reconsider constraints on Ukrainian military actions.

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