A Dutch government official said on Thursday his country would consider supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine if Kyiv made such a request.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra made the statement about the jets during a parliamentary debate, according to Dutch website NL Times. Hoekstra reportedly said the Dutch cabinet would consider an F-16 request with an ‘open mind’, adding that there would be ‘no taboos’ on delivering regular equipment to the Eastern European country. .
John Spencer, retired U.S. Army major and chair of urban warfare studies at the Madison Policy Forum, said Newsweek Friday that adding F-16s to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces would have a noticeable impact at a time when Russian forces have recently made battlefield gains.
“It would give Ukraine what it doesn’t have right now, which is a lot more air capability,” Spencer said. “That would be a huge asset for Ukraine.”
Hoekstra’s comments on the F-16s came the same day Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Netherlands would be willing to cover the costs of Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine as part of a coalition of allies.
“It’s definitely something we would be willing to do,” Ollongren told Bloomberg News of such a Leopards plan. “We are all waiting to hear the German position on this, but I am in favor of trying to find a solution and trying to send tanks to Ukraine.”
His comments regarding Germany referred to a meeting Friday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The US-led meeting of Ukraine’s allies focused on military support for Zelensky, and the topic of German-made Leopard 2 tanks was one of the main topics of discussion.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told reporters on Friday that the meeting ended as Germany had still not decided whether or not to allow Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine. .
If a deal with the Netherlands for the F-16s materializes, however, Ukraine would receive at least one formidable weapon in the air, according to Spencer.
“The F-16s have a multi-role platform. They can perform a close air support and air supremacy role,” Spencer said.
He also added that a government official floating the idea of such an offer does not mean a plan has been drawn up, and pointed out that the United States last year rejected a Polish plan to transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to an American base in Germany.
If the F-16 deal does materialize, however, Spencer said the fighter jets “would be a great addition to their capabilities, especially to prepare for the spring onslaught.”
Newsweek contacted the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.