Netherlands Says Ukraine Can Use F-16s To Strike Targets Inside Russia

NATO is working on a program to train Ukrainian pilots on the American-made aircraft, but it has been delayed for months

The Dutch foreign minister said that Amsterdam does not object to Kiev using F-16s to strike targets inside Russia once the advanced aircraft reach Ukraine. The announcement is a major escalation as F-16s are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

On Friday, the Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot gave a green light to Ukraine to hit Russian military targets with F-16s. “If you have the right to self-defense, there are no borders for the use of weapons. This is a general principle,” she said, adding that Ukraine may also use Danish-supplied F-16 jets for operations in Russian territory.

The Danish FM, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, confirmed that allowing Ukraine to attack Russia with F-16s was Denmark’s policy. “The short answer is yes.” He continued, “We made it clear from the very beginning… that this is part of self-defense so that it would also be possible to attack military targets on the aggressor’s territory.”

The statement comes as a growing number of NATO members, including the US and Germany, have given Ukraine approval to use their weapons to attack Russian territory. After London gave Kiev the green light earlier this month, the Kremlin issued a stern warning to the UK. “Any British military facilities and equipment on the territory of Ukraine and beyond could be a response to Ukrainian strikes with the use of British weapons on the territory of Russia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The ambassador was called upon to reflect on the inevitable catastrophic consequences of such hostile steps by London.”

Moscow will likely see attacks on Russian soil by F-16s as even more provocative as the aircraft is capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has explained that the Kremlin views F-16 deliveries to Ukraine as a “nuclear” threat.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed off on a NATO proposal to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16, then transfer dozens of the aircraft to Kiev. However, the program has faced several delays and a shortage of pilots. Ukrainian officials have said the setbacks mean the F-16 will have little impact on the battlefield once they arrive, as Moscow has had time to prepare for the deployment.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.