Belgium wants to deliver F-16s to Ukraine this year

Belgium wants to provide additional military support to Ukraine. This was decided by the federal government on Friday evening. The delivery of Belgian F-16s to the Ukrainian Air Force may be possible this year. 

When Ukrainian President Zelensky unexpectedly visited Brussels in late 2023, it was essentially already decided to deliver Belgian F16s to the country. On Friday, that decision was officially ratified by Belgium’s federal government. The country will also supply additional ammunition to Ukraine, which is seeing Russia advancing in the absence of Western arms supplies. 

In October, the government still announced that such delivery could not happen until 2025 at the earliest, so it would be up to the next government to make that decision. But Belgium will now move up a gear after all. The country wants the aircraft on the front line before the end of this year.

The announcement is good news for Ukraine, where the situation has become precarious. Ukrainian soldiers are almost out of ammunition and there is a shortage of troops. The Russians seem to be gaining the upper hand. 

On Friday, two hospitals were evacuated in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, including a children's hospital, for fear of Russian attacks. Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the World Health Organisation WHO has recorded at least 1,682 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Belgium is also helping to train Ukrainian technicians in the maintenance of F-16 fighter jets. That training is currently in full swing at one of Sabena Engineering's sites, whose exact location is not known for security reasons.




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