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Belgian premier reconsidering sending F-16 jets to Ukraine

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published September 21,2023
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2023. (AFP Photo)

The Belgian prime minister said his country is reconsidering sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, according to media reports on Thursday.

Alexander De Croo's remarks came after Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder said Belgium will replace its F-16s fleet with F-35 fighter jets.

"We have asked the Defense Ministry to look into whether our aircraft are completely end-of-life," De Croo told public broadcaster VRT on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

VRT reported that Belgium could supply fighter jets to Ukraine if it wants, as there would be 45 old F-16s to send when the country receives the new F-35s.

"We need to consider all options," said De Croo, who earlier ruled out sending the F-16s and said Belgium needs the jets.

"We also need it to protect our own airspace. We have always been very clear about it: we need those Belgian F-16s ourselves, but there are many other ways we can support them," he had said earlier this year, according to the Brussels Times.