Denmark's transfer of 19 American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will take place in the second quarter of 2024, once Ukrainian pilots have completed training, the defence ministry said Saturday.

"Based on the current timetable, the donation should take place in the second quarter of 2024," the Danish ministry said in a statement.

"It's mainly an issue of finishing the training of Ukrainian personnel who will operate the planes."

Denmark, which is replacing its F-16 fleet with more modern F-35 jets, announced in August that it would provide the 19 planes after securing approval from the US government.

Kyiv had long sought to obtain the fighters after heavy losses incurred by its air force, which flies mostly Russian aircraft. The US F-16 has better combat capabilities than those operated by Ukraine.

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But Washington had resisted allowing the jet transfers for fear of being deemed a direct belligerent in the Ukraine war by Moscow.

The Netherlands also announced last August F-16 transfers to Ukraine and is currently training Ukrainian pilots, but it has not yet said when the 42 planes will arrive.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky assured in his New Year's address that Ukrainian pilots were ready to fly the F-16s, which should be put into service this year.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Denmark's overall aid to Ukraine has reached 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion).

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