President Biden on Monday said the U.S. will not supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets to assist in their ongoing fight with Russia, which is heading into its second year.
“No,” Mr. Biden said when a reporter asked him if the U.S. would send the fighter jets to Ukraine.
Mr. Biden also said he was unsure if he would visit Europe for the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials last week renewed their calls for the U.S. and Germany to provide them with F-16 fighter jets, which have been on the country’s wish list since the war began last year.
The Biden administration has rebuffed such calls, saying that artillery, armor, and ground-based defense systems and tanks are more urgent needs because Ukraine must protect civilian infrastructure and repel Russian forces.
Mykhalio Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said over the weekend Ukraine’s Western allies understand the need for planes capable of providing cover for tanks they have sent to the war-torn country.
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“We must show (our allies) the real picture of this war,” Mr. Podolyak said in remarks to the online video channel Freedom. “We must speak reasonably and tell them, for example, ‘This and this will reduce fatalities, this will reduce the burden on infrastructure. This will reduce security threats to the European continent, this will keep the war localized.’ And we are doing it.”
Germany and the United States last week announced they would each send M1 Abrams tanks along with Bradley and Marder vehicles to Ukraine and train Ukrainian troops to operate them.
That decision was a reversal after months of Mr. Biden insisting that the U.S. would not send Abrams tanks into Ukraine. He finally relented under pressure from Germany and other European partners.