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Biden rules out sending Ukraine F-16s 'for now'

President Biden in a new interview said he is ruling out providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine “for now,” despite pleas from Ukrainian leadership for the planes in their war against Russia.

“He doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden told ABC News’s David Muir when asked about the requests from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I am ruling it out for now,” Biden said, adding that there was no rationale at the moment to provide the planes, according U.S. military leaders.

Ukrainian officials have in recent weeks ramped up the pressure on the U.S. to provide F-16s in the war effort, particularly after the Biden administration and European allies finally agreed to provide the war-torn country with tanks.

The Biden administration has also provided billions of dollars in military aid since the war began one year ago, including long-range missile defense systems, air defense systems, ammunition, armored vehicles and more.

Some critics have argued the Biden administration has been too slow to deliberate and respond to Ukrainian requests for equipment before ultimately acquiescing and providing what is requested.

But Biden officials have been adamant that Ukraine does not need F-16s based on the current state of the war.

“[The Ukrainians are] about to mount a significant counteroffensive,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at a CNN town hall event on Thursday night. “From our perspective, F-16s are not the key capability for that offensive. It is the stuff that we are moving rapidly to the front lines now.”

Biden traveled to Kyiv earlier this week to mark the anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He appeared alongside Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital, vowing that U.S. support for the country would not waver as the war enters its second year.

Source: The Hill

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