Dutch PM says talks on F-16s for Ukraine progressing
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Talks on a potential donation of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine are progressing, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to The Hague, but no decision has been made.
Answering a question at a press conference alongside Zelenskiy and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Rutte said "On the F-16's: no taboos."
"We are working closely with our partners Belgium, others, UK, Denmark, on getting that debate somehow to a conclusion. We are not there yet," he said.
Earlier this week in Helsinki, Finland, Zelenskiy renewed his requests for the West to supply Kyiv with modern fighter jets and added he was "sure we will soon have aircraft".
Rutte has previously said the Netherlands would consider any kind of military support for Ukraine as long as it would not trigger open conflict between NATO and Russia.
He said on Thursday said that discussions on F-16s would "take time" as did previous discussions on donating Leopard 2 tanks and armoured howitzers.
"But at this moment the panzer-howitzers are in Ukraine, (and) the Leo 2s are being delivered to Ukraine," he noted. "So we will work on this diligently, on the F-16s, and clearly there is support in parliament for this government to work on that."
(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Alex Richardson and Christina Fincher)