Military Aid for Ukraine: Netherlands Budgets Over $4 Billion in 2024-26 Period

Foreign Affairs

Paris: The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with €4 billion (US $4.25 billion) in military aid in the 2024-2026 period, the Dutch government said in a spring budget update on April 15. Defence leaders will also structurally increase defence spending by €500 million per year from 2028 to invest in air defence and ammunition stocks.

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“Air defence and munitions are vital, as we are now seeing in Ukraine and the Middle East,” Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in a statement. “That is why the Cabinet has made extra money available for these NATO top priorities. This also sends a clear signal to industry.”

The Dutch government will prioritise strengthening its ground-based air defence, the Defence Ministry said. The Dutch military brass has said the Netherlands can’t spare more Patriot air systems to Ukraine because the country is at the minimum levels required to defend its ports.

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Ollongren said the outcome of the war in Ukraine is decisive for the freedom of Europe, and the embattled country can continue to count on the Dutch. She said the Netherlands also needs to invest more in security out of “dire necessity.”

Additional money will allow the ministry to “carry out additional and necessary reinforcements” as well as make further commitments and provide clarity to industry, according to State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat. “Given the current situation, the urgency is great to further replenish our ammunition stocks on an accelerated basis,” Van der Maat said.

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The ministry said it will acquire more AMRAAM missiles, among other things, while a press release also featured an image of Kongsberg’s NASAMS system.

The country already lifted its 2024 defence budget to €21.4 billion ($23.2 billion), or 1.95% of GDP, from €15.4 billion in 2023 and €12.9 billion in 2022. Dutch generals say spending will have to be increased beyond 2% of GDP to undo the damage from decades of slashing defence budgets.

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Other capabilities that require priority investments are tanks, intelligence, drone and counter-drone technology, as well as medical and logistical support, the Defence Ministry said. “The strengthening of air defence and additional munitions are a crucial step that cannot wait,” Ollongren said. “The plans for even more investments are ready for the new Cabinet.”

Talks to form a new Dutch government are ongoing following elections in November, with the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a caretaker role. The Netherlands says it had provided €2.81 billion in military aid to Ukraine by the end of February, including equipment from its own stocks with a book value of €1.2 billion, as well as €1.12 billion in commercial purchases of military equipment for Kyiv.

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Separately, Thales said the Netherlands agreed to buy seven of its Ground Master 200 mobile radar systems, with an option for two more. That follows a purchase of nine GM200 systems in 2019. The company didn’t provide a value for the contract.

The Netherlands is also budgeting €731 million to buy and integrate the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 2 on two of its existing air-defence frigates, as well as two future anti-submarine warfare frigates, Van der Maat wrote in an April 15 letter to parliament. The Block 2 missiles will be able to defend against manoeuvrable supersonic anti-ship missiles, something the ESSM Block 1 missiles are less capable at, according to the official.