President Biden responded “no” when asked on Monday if the United States will provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Biden last week announced a decision to send 31 Abrams battle tanks to the country. Shortly after that announcement, Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense secretary, told The Hill that he was optimistic about receiving Western fighter jets, like American F-16s.
The U.S. though has resisted sending the fighter jets with national security adviser John Kirby saying last week he “can’t blame the Ukrainians for wanting more and more systems.”
“It’s not the first time they’ve talked about fighter jets, but I don’t have any announcements to make on that front,” he added.
Ukrainians have sought American F-16s since early last year when Russia first invaded.
The president also told reporters Monday that he’s “not sure” if he will go to Europe for the one-year anniversary of the start of the war, which is next month. He added though that he was planning to visit Poland but didn’t yet know when.
Biden announced last week that the U.S. will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, matching a German announcement to immediately provide tanks. That decision marked an about-face for the Biden administration, which had previously insisted the Abrams would be of little benefit to Ukraine due to its costly and laborious maintenance and upkeep.
Ukraine lobbied hard for the U.S., Germany and other countries to supply the tanks, which it said would be critical to a spring counteroffensive against Moscow. It will take several months before the U.S.-made tanks arrive in Kyiv.
Source: The Hill