Dutch minister Kajsa Ollongren says Netherlands will aid Ukraine with military drones technology. (Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


Netherlands joins coalition to provide Ukraine with hi-tech drones


The Netherlands is joining a military coalition with allies including Britain that will supply Ukraine with advanced drone technology and bolster its offensive capabilities in the war against Russia, the Dutch defence minister said.

The pledge from the Netherlands comes in addition to F-16 fighter jets, artillery, ammunition and air defence systems provided by the Dutch to Kyiv.

For the Netherlands, there may be additional costs on top of €2 billion earmarked already for 2024, Dutch defence minister Kasja Ollongren said ahead of two days of NATO defence-minister meetings in Brussels starting on February 14.

“We know of course that drones are very important in this war,” she said.

“That’s why we are joining the drone coalition that Ukraine has started together with Latvia, together with other countries, to make sure that we do just that – increase production, use the latest technology and to provide exactly what Ukraine needs.”

Ukraine’s defence ministry had announced Britain’s participation last month.

Drones have become a crucial part of both Ukraine and Russia’s wartime strategies for reconnaissance and striking targets, thanks in large part to their relatively low cost.

Both sides are now using thousands of small, inexpensive drones, originally built for enthusiasts and racers, to conduct battlefield-level surveillance and attacks.

They are also growing their fleets of larger, longer-distance unmanned craft that can fly much further and carry heavier cameras or more explosives.

Both Britain and the Netherlands had already been helping Ukraine build out its drone fleet.

“What is new is that we are now forming this coalition” Ollongren said.

“So we’re connecting, let’s say, the things that we’re doing separately into one coalition that will be able to respond to the new demands of Ukraine, as they see the battle developing on the frontline.

“And I think that’s the strength of this coalition,” she said at her offices in The Hague.

Ukraine intends to manufacture thousands of long-range drones capable of deep strikes into Russia in 2024 and already has up to 10 companies working on production, Ukraine’s digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on February 12.

By working together, the coalition will be able to respond to Kyiv’s changing wartime tactics, according to Ollongren.

“And I think that’s going to be the strength of this coalition, to be able to provide in the very short term what they need.”

She added that the Netherlands will contribute high-tech expertise from the commercial sector, but declined to provide technical or financial details.