Ukraine: Joe Biden rules out sending F-16 fighters - Dispatch Weekly

January 31, 2023 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Despite new requests for air support from the Ukrainian government, US President Joe Biden has decided against sending F-16 fighter jets to the country.

On Monday, when asked if the US would be delivering the planes, Mr. Biden simply said, “No.”

His statement comes a day after the leader of Germany similarly disallowed the dispatch of fighter jets.

In its ongoing conflict with Russia, Ukraine has claimed that it needs the jets to seize control of its airspace.

F-16 Fighting Falcons are employed by several nations, including Belgium and Pakistan, and are regarded as among the most dependable fighter jets in the world.

They would represent a substantial improvement over the Soviet-era fighter jets that Ukraine presently employs, which were created before the nation’s independence from the USSR was proclaimed more than 30 years ago.

But Mr. Biden has consistently rejected Ukraine’s requests for the jets, focusing instead on offering military assistance in other regions.

Last week, the US declared that it will send 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, and the UK and Germany followed suit.

Andrii Melnyk, the deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, hailed the news but urged partners to form a “fighter jet coalition” to provide Ukraine access to other aircraft, such as Eurofighters, Tornados, French Rafales, and Swedish Gripen.

Germany’s chancellor stated in an interview on Sunday that discussing the possibility of delivering additional military assistance to Ukraine, after having already committed to sending Leopard 2s, seemed “frivolous.”

Additionally, Olaf Scholz reaffirmed to the German newspaper, Tagesspiegel, that NATO was not at war with Russia and that it would “not allow such an escalation.”

Members of the alliance, particularly the US and Germany, have been hesitant to deploy military assistance that could cause the situation to worsen. Nato has been accused by Moscow of acting as an aggressor by proxy.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, repeated this stance on Monday, stating that while “nothing is forbidden” in terms of supporting Ukraine, it must neither worsen the situation or restrict France’s ability to protect itself.

The Netherlands and other EU nations have not yet made a decision over whether or not they would send fighter jets.

But Poland has made it clear that, in coordination with NATO, it would be willing to provide fighter jets.

DW Staff

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