President Zelenskyy visits Belgium

President Zelenskyy visits Belgium
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Credit: Belga

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Belgium on Tuesday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a televised programme on a Flemish channel.

The agenda of President Zelenskyy's visit includes the signing of a bilateral security agreement and the delivery of F-16s, which Belgium has pledged to supply to Ukraine.

Various security agreements already bind Ukraine to Western nations. Similar pacts were signed in February with France, and on Monday with Spain, during a visit there by the Ukrainian president.

Since January, a memorandum has been in place linking Belgian defence and industrial sector and Ukrainian authorities with the purpose of improving relations, although a security agreement was not yet formalised. However, Belgium had previously offered Ukraine over €1 billion in military assistance.

On Tuesday morning, President Zelenskyy will meet with Prime Minister De Croo to sign the security agreement before an audience with the King. He will then head to the Melsbroek military airport around noon to meet Belgian F-16 pilots, instructors and technicians.

Belgium is a member of the 'F-16 coalition' formed at the initiative of the Netherlands and Denmark. Initially, it provided only training, technical and logistical support. However, during a surprise visit by Zelenskyy to Brussels last October, Belgium pledged to also provide aircraft – a decision confirmed at the end of April.

Brussels hopes to deliver the first planes before the end of the year. The number of aircraft to be delivered is yet to be confirmed.

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