Copenhagen is in talks with its NATO allies about sending American-made combat aircraft to Ukraine. Denmark’s defense minister says a decision is expected by the summer. Meanwhile, Copenhagen pledged to send 100 tanks to Kiev.
Lund Poulsen, Denmark’s acting defense minister, explained that his country is working to form a coalition of NATO members to send Western-made fighter jets to Ukraine. “Denmark will not do it alone,” Poulsen said, adding, “we need to do this together with several countries. We will also have a dialogue with the Americans about this.”
Earlier this month, while visiting Poland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to a growing “planes coalition,” saying he believes the group will be led by Warsaw. “Just as your [Polish] leadership proved itself in the tank coalition, I believe that it will manifest itself in the planes coalition,” Zelensky enthused.
NATO members have only provided Ukraine with Soviet-era MiG-29s warplanes. Denmark has about 40 F-16s in its air force and is in the process of purchasing dozens of F-35s. It appears that Copenhagen is considering transferring the F-16s to Kiev as it is planning to phase out the older fighter jet. Poulsen said Copenhagen would come to a decision by the summer.
American officials and politicians have pushed President Joe Biden to send American-made warplanes to Ukraine. Biden has resisted sending F-16s to Kiev. However, the US and UK Have begun to train Ukrainian pilots on Western aircraft.
In addition to considering sending advanced aircraft to Ukraine, Denmark has authorized transferring 100 German-made Leopard tanks to Kiev. “And by looking half a year ahead, I hope that it will be possible to transfer about 100 Leopard-1 tanks,” Poulsen continued, “this would be a significant help for the Ukrainian army in the fight for freedom.”
Denmark plans to begin deliveries of the Leopard tanks by this summer. While it is only sending the older Leopard-1 model to Ukraine, Poulsen indicated that Copenhagen is looking to provide Kiev with newer Leopard-2 tanks as well. “There aren’t many Leopard-2s in Denmark, but we can discuss other ways to get them,” he said.