The Netherlands is looking into the deployment of F16 fighter jets to try and ease the conflict around Ukraine, defence minister Jeanine Hennis told a television talk show on Tuesday night.
While there is no question of Nato military action against Russia, ‘we want to be very visible as support to our Eastern allies’, the minister told the Pauw & Witteman show.
‘We are looking at how we can increase our air support or sea support in, say, the Baltic or the Black Sea region,’ she said. ‘We are members of an alliance for a reason and we will take our responsibilities.’
Asked specifically what form Dutch air support could take, the minister said ‘it could mean sending an F16.’
Nato ambassadors will discuss the deployment of planes and ships later today, Nos television reports, and Hennis said she hoped that Russia would take part in talks in Geneva which are also on the schedule.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has warned that Ukraine is ‘on the verge of civil war’ after Kiev sent in troops against pro-Russia separatists, the BBC reports.
Putin said in a phone call to German chancellor Angela Merkel that Kiev’s move was a ‘sharp escalation’ in the conflict.
Ukraine began what it said was an ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in the east of the country on Tuesday.
Listen to the minister (Dutch)
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