The Netherlands is “seriously considering” delivering F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but has not yet made a final decision, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced.

Earlier this week the Netherlands announced it wanted to start training Ukrainian pilots in the F-16 “as soon as possible”.

When asked if his country would send fighter jets to Ukraine, Rutte said no final decision had been made, but added: “If someone starts training (the pilots) it is obvious that they are seriously considering it.” Any decision depends on US approval or not, he explained, noting that the Netherlands would likely have fighters to send since it is currently in the phase of phasing out the F-16s.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the Netherlands currently has 24 operational F-16s, which will be phased out by mid-2024. Another 18 have been put up for sale.

Last week, US President Joe Biden approved Ukrainian pilot training programs in the F-16, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured him that the aircraft would not be used in operations inside Russian territory.