Reports: NATO member Norway to donate F 16 fighter jets to Ukraine, becoming third country to do so
August 24, 2023 By The Associated Press
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — NATO-member Norway will donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, whose forces are embroiled in a difficult counteroffensive against Russia, Norwegian media said Thursday. The reports came as Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store was visiting Kyiv.
There was no official confirmation of the plan, which was reported by Norwegian broadcasters NRK and TV2.
Norway would be the third European country after the Netherlands and Denmark to donate F-16 planes.
Ukraine has long pleaded for the sophisticated fighter jets to give it a combat edge. It recently launched a long-anticipated counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s forces without air cover, placing its troops at the mercy of Russian aviation and artillery.
In February, oil-rich Norway announced that it is donating 75 billion kroner (US$7 billion) to Kyiv as part of a five-year support package, making Norway one of the world’s biggest donors to Ukraine.
The money will be split evenly between military and humanitarian assistance over five years, broken down to 15 billion kroner (US$1.4 billion) annually.
The Norwegian government has long said it is considering sending F-16s to Ukraine. In January, Norway received the first of the 52 F-35s it has ordered. The new fighter jets are to replace Norway’s fleet of F-16.
Last week, the Netherlands and Denmark announced that they will donate F-16 aircraft. Denmark said it will provide 19 planes, while the Netherlands has not said how many planes it will donate.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy toured several European countries, including the Netherlands and Denmark, but skipped Norway.