Netherlands and Denmark They pledged this Sunday to send US F-16 fighters to Kiev, the Dutch Prime Minister announced during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky to a Dutch air force base in Eindhoven, in the south of the country.
“The Netherlands and Denmark agree to send F-16s to Ukraineonce the conditions of the shipment are met,” said Mark Rutte in a joint statement with Zelensky. The United States had already authorized these two NATO countries on Friday to transfer these US-made fighters to the Ukrainian military.
“I am proud that Denmark and the Netherlands donate F-16 fighters to Ukraine’s freedom fight against Russia and its senseless aggression“, celebrated in a statement the Danish Defense Minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. “Denmark’s support for Ukraine is unwavering and with the donation of F-16 aircraft, Denmark shows the way forward,” he added.
Zelenski, who described the officialization of the shipment as “historic”, specified that the planes were necessary for his country and sought to “protect [su] town of Russian terror”.
According to an AFP correspondent present at the Eindhoven base, the Ukrainian president examined the F-16s, the delivery date of which is still unknown. A coalition of eleven NATO countries began training Ukrainian pilots in August. According to forecasts, they will be ready to fly these combat aircraft in early 2024.
After visiting Sweden on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader landed at around 12:00 (10:00 GMT) in the Netherlands, a Dutch government spokeswoman said. Ukrainian authorities have demanded the delivery of Western fighters to fight Moscow forces since the start of the Russian invasion, which began in February 2022.
Drone strikes in Russia
Zelensky’s visit to the Netherlands took place the day after a Russian bombardment sparked at least seven dead and more than 140 injured in the city of Chernigov, in the north of Ukraine. The Ukrainian army responded with a series of drone attacks, without causing fatalities, against Moscow and the Russian regions of Kursk (west) and Rostov, near the border with Ukraine.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, “around 0400 (0100 GMT), an attempt by the Kiev regime to carry out a terrorist attack with drones against infrastructure in Moscow and its region was disabled.” “There were no casualties or damage,” he added in a statement.
Air traffic at the Vnukovo and Domodedovo international airports was “temporarily restricted” overnight, the Russian transport agency Rosaviatsia reported, quoted by the Ria Novosti press agency. The governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovot, explained on his part that a drone “crashed on the roof of the station and started a fire” which was “shutdown at 0346 (0046 GMT)”.
“Five people were slightly injured by the glass pieces” and three of them were hospitalized, the governor said.
Further south, in the Rostov region, Russian anti-aircraft defense intercepted “two drones” that caused no casualties or damage, announced the regional governor, Vasily Golubev.
“This has to stop”
Ukrainian drone strikes have increased significantly in recent months, after Kyiv launched a counter-offensive in June. Ukraine claimed some “victories” in the last week, but in general, the counteroffensive barely made any progress. Moscow had already said on Saturday that it thwarted another such air raid against a military airfield in Russia’s northwestern Novgorod region, far from the border with Ukraine.
The Russian shelling of Chernihiv surprised the inhabitants of the town, which was occupied by the Russian army for a few weeks at the start of the war, but which is far from the front lines. The attack came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his army commanders in Rostov-on-Don, near the border with Ukraine.
“Right now, we are working to clear the center of the city,” Vyacheslav Chaus, governor of the Chernigov region, about 100 kilometers north of Kyiv, wrote on Telegram on Sunday morning. “It is hateful to attack the main square of a big city, in the morning, while people are out walking, some going to church“said Denise Brown, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine. “This has to stop,” she added.