Netherlands to start F-16 deliveries to Ukraine soon, government says

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands will supply Ukraine with the first of 24 promised F-16 fighter jets soon, the outgoing Dutch government said on Monday.

The necessary permits to deliver the jets to Ukraine have been granted, Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in a letter to parliament ahead of a government transition on Tuesday after months of coalition building following an election last year.

She declined to specify how many planes would be in the first delivery and when they would arrive in Ukraine for security reasons.

The Netherlands has been one of the driving forces behind an international coalition to supply Ukraine with F-16s to strengthen its air defences against Russia.

The Dutch government earlier supplied F-16s to a training facility in Romania, where Ukrainian pilots and ground staff are being taught to fly and maintain the planes in battle.

In April, Ollongren said she expected promised deliveries by Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States to start within months.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)