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We Have To Give Air Support To Ukraine, Can’t Put It On US: Top EU Diplomat

European Union countries must send their anti-missile systems to bolster Ukraine’s air defences as Russia pounds its cities, EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has said. Europe cannot just rely on the United States to help Kyiv, he warned.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers on the Italian island of Capri, Borrell said Western countries must support Ukraine’s defence systems and act quickly or risk victory for Putin.

More than two years into the war with Russia, Ukraine is facing a shortage of ammunition, with vital funding from the US blocked by Republicans in Congress for months and the EU failing to deliver sufficient munitions on time.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands handed over another three F-16 fighter jets to a training facility in Romania where Ukrainian pilots and ground staff are being taught to fly and maintain the planes in battle.

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

Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States expect to deliver the first batch of dozens of F-16s to Ukraine within a few months after establishing the pilot training programme and donating aircraft.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the donation a “breakthrough agreement” last year and said the planes would strengthen Ukraine’s air defences and help its counter-offensive against Russian forces.

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But US officials have privately said the jets will not be a game changer when they eventually arrive after months of training, given the strength of the Russian air force and its defence systems.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin last month said the F-16s would not change the situation on the battlefield and would be shot down by Russian forces.

The Dutch had already delivered eight of the promised total of 18 F-16s to the training facility since November.

They have also promised to deliver a total of 24 F-16s for use in Ukraine, with the first ones expected to arrive in the second half of the year, adding to earlier deliveries of the aircraft by the Danish armed forces.

Last week, the Dutch government said it would increase military support to Ukraine to a total of 3 billion euros ($3.19 billion) this year and has earmarked the same amount for 2025.

With inputs from Reuters