Macron does not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday did not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine. However, during a visit to the Netherlands, the President set conditions for such a step. France has provided Ukraine with air defense systems, rocket launchers and other military equipment, and has promised armored vehicles, but not main battle tanks.
Asked if France was considering sending fighter jets, Macron said at a press conference in The Hague that nothing was out of the question as long as certain conditions were met. This includes ensuring that the provision of such equipment does not lead to an escalation or is used to “touch Russian soil”. In addition, the capacities of the French armed forces should not be affected. He also said that Ukraine must formally request the planes. Macron indicated that he would meet Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov in Paris on Tuesday.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Ukraine has not yet officially requested Dutch F16 fighter jets. He expressed caution after his foreign minister said earlier this month there were no taboos on deploying fighter jets. “There are no talks about delivering F-16s to Ukraine. No inquiries,” said Rutte on Monday. There are no taboos, but it would be a very big next step. “It is very important that we continue to support Ukraine and that Ukraine tells us what it needs,” he said.
Rutte welcomed recent announcements by Germany and the US that they would be sending tanks to Ukraine. “We as the Netherlands will continue to examine what we can do,” said the head of government. The Netherlands does not have Leopard 2 tanks, they are leased. If it helps, the country is willing to buy and pass on such tanks. “Whatever works.”