Denmark, Netherlands, US spearhead creation of future Ukraine air force

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States will spearhead a new international coalition to help Ukraine establish a future air force based on F-16 fighter jets, the Danish ministry of defence said on Wednesday.

The new coalition intends to build infrastructure around F-16s, including maintenance facilities to support the operation of the planes, the ministry said in a statement.

Denmark and the Netherlands were the first two countries to commit to donating F-16 jets to Ukraine, whose current air force has a fleet of ageing Soviet-era fighter jets, in its war with Russia.

“This is a natural move following the leading role Denmark already has in relation to the military support for Ukraine and especially in relation to the donation of F-16 fighter jets,” Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

Denmark expects to deliver the first six of out of a total of 19 F-16s to Ukraine in March or April next year, he told broadcaster TV2 on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen, Johannes Gotfredsen-Birkebaek, editing by Andrew Heavens, William Maclean)