New Dutch PM pledges continued support for Ukraine in call with Zelenskiy

Former Dutch intelligence chief Dick Schoof is presented as the proposed prime minister of the Netherlands

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -The Netherlands' new Prime Minister Dick Schoof assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a phone call on Wednesday that his country would maintain its support for Ukraine.

The Netherlands has been one of the driving forces behind an international coalition to supply Ukraine with F-16s to strengthen its air defences against Russia.

The outgoing Dutch government said on Monday that the first of 24 promised jets would be supplied soon.

"I assured (Zelenskiy) that the Netherlands' support for his country is rock solid; we will continue to support Ukraine politically, militarily, and financially against Russian aggression, whatever it takes and for as long as it takes," Schoof said on social media platform X.

Zelenskiy said on X he wished Schoof success in his job and that a meeting "to further develop our partnership" had been scheduled.

Ukraine counts on the Netherlands to expand the F-16 jet training mission for Kyiv's pilots, Zelenskiy added.

The Dutch government earlier supplied F-16s to a training facility in Romania, where Ukrainian pilots and ground staff are being taught to fly and maintain the planes in battle.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout, Yuliia Dysa; Editing by Alex Richardson and Gareth Jones)