From the skies of northern Norway to Ukraine

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“Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against air attacks is crucial in its battle against Russia. Norway has now decided to donate six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. We plan to start delivering the aircraft in the course of 2024,” says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in a statement.

The announcement comes as this year’s NATO summit kicks off in Washington D.C. US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said allied countries will provide Ukraine with more air defense systems.

Norway has previously said it would donate some of its former F-16 jets to Ukraine. Timing and numbers have until now been untold.

Also the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium have announced donations of F-16 to the Ukrainian air force. Pilots and technical staff have already for months been trained in Denmark and Romania.

“Russia has been attacking Ukraine by air since the start of the war. These attacks have caused great suffering among the Ukrainian population and led to extensive material damage. Combined with air defence systems, the fighter jets will be vital to enabling the Ukrainians to defend themselves against Russian air attacks. Norway has taken part in the training of Ukrainian fighter pilots in Denmark since autumn 2023, and will continue to support training activities moving forward,” Prime Minister Støre says.

 

Jonas Gahr Støre is Prime Minister of Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide says Norway’s support to Ukraine will continue.

“Ukraine’s battle is our battle as well. It is a battle not just to safeguard Ukraine’s freedom, but also to safeguard our common values, democracy and respect for international law.” 

‘Both President Zelensky and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kuleba have repeatedly expressed their deep appreciation of Norway’s support to Ukraine’s air defence, and have stated explicitly that these aircraft will play a crucial role in their ability to defend their right to freedom and sovereignty,” Barth Eide says.

Norway phased out its F-16s in 2021 in connection with the phase-in of its new F-35 multirole combat aircraft.

The F-16 is an American made fighter jet and Norway got its first of 72 in 1980. The planes where at different airports, but in the last period of operation, Bodø airfield in northern Norway was the main base. 

The provision of weapons and aircraft maintenance and support will be addressed within the framework of the multinational cooperation, the Government informs. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, the UK and Norway are all taking part in this effort.   

Earlier this week, Norway also announced it will provide Ukraine with spare parts to the Sea King helicopters to the Ukrainian Coast Guard to secure maritime operations in the Black Sea. Norway recently retired its last Sea King SAR-helicopter.

Germany has donated Sea Kings to Ukraine. 

 

Norwegian Sea King rescue helicopter exercising evacuation of people from a Coast Guard ship in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen