Norway Pledges Six F-16 Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Norway has pledged to donate six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, a significant contribution to the country’s defense against Russian attacks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced the donation on Wednesday, emphasizing its importance for Ukraine’s ability to defend itself from Russian air strikes. This announcement comes as NATO prepares for its upcoming summit in Washington, D.C.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has described the gathering as a celebration and an opportunity for members to make critical decisions about the alliance’s future. He expects the allies to agree on a comprehensive package of support for Ukraine, encompassing five key elements: enhanced security assistance and training for Ukraine, a long-term commitment to sustaining Ukraine’s security, new pronouncements of immediate support including air defense capabilities, bilateral security agreements between Ukraine and individual NATO member states, and amplified efforts to improve interoperability between Ukrainian and NATO forces.

Ukraine has long sought these advanced fighter jets to bolster its combat capabilities against Russian firepower. While a specific date for the donation has not been set, Gahr Støre has stated that Norway aims to begin the process in 2024. He reiterated the crucial importance of Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against air attacks, calling it essential in the ongoing defensive struggle against Russia.

Last year, during a visit to Kyiv, Gahr Støre had indicated Norway’s intention to donate F-16s to Ukraine but did not specify the number. The Nordic NATO member, after 42 years of service, retired its aging F-16 fleet in 2021, replacing them with new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Norway’s decision to donate F-16s makes it the third European country to do so, following the Netherlands and Denmark. With its significant oil wealth, Norway has been a major contributor to Ukraine’s aid efforts, ranking among the world’s leading donors.

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