Netherlands Joins Denmark In Saying Ukraine Can Use F-16s To Strike Inside Russia

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 04, 2024 - 09:45 AM

The Netherlands is the latest NATO country to announce that it backs allowing Ukraine to attack inside Russian territory using its weapons. More importantly, it has joined Denmark in saying it does not object to Kiev using F-16s to attack Russia.

"If you have the right to self-defense, there are no borders for the use of weapons. This is a general principle," Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said days ago. Kiev could receive its first F-16s in a matter of weeks.

Via Associated Press

This came immediately after Denmark's foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen was the first to proclaim such a policy, saying it would be "within the rules of war".

"We made it clear from the very beginning… that this is part of self-defense so that it would also be possible to attack military targets on the aggressor’s territory," Rasmussen had said from Brussels late last week.

The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium are part of a US-approved 'fighter jet coalition' which will oversee dozens of American-made F-16 fighter jets transferred to Ukraine's armed forces. The Netherlands alone has pledged 24 jets, and initial deliveries are expected this summer.

Moscow views this 'greenlight' as a huge new provocation and escalation given F-16s are capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons. Russia previously said it will have no choice but to assume each F-16 could be armed with nukes.

President Putin has warned of "serious consequences" after the Kremlin previously warned that NATO bases from which these jets are deployed could come under attack. 

But on Friday NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg shrugged off Moscow's warnings by saying:

"This is nothing new. It has … been the case for a long time that every time NATO allies are providing support to Ukraine, President Putin is trying to threaten us to not do that."

"And an escalation – well, Russia has escalated by invading another country."

Likely Russia's military will seek to target Western-supplied fighter jets sent to Ukraine as soon as they enter its territory, as it maintains air superiority over most of the country.

Not all members of the NATO fighter jet coalition have been quick to greenlight attacks on Russian territory. While the policy could change, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at the start of this week stipulated that the jets it gives Ukraine can only be used against Russia within Ukrainian territory.

"Everything which is covered by this agreement is very clear: it is for utilization by the Ukrainian defense forces on Ukraine territory," De Croo said in response to a journalist's question last week. He said this as President Zelensky was recently in Brussels to sign a defense pact with the Belgian government worth nearly €1 billion.