[guest post by Dana]
Today, President Biden was asked whether the United States would send F-16s to Ukraine. The President answered no, saying that the U.S. would not send fighter jets to Ukraine. This despite repeated requests from President Zelensky and military officials pushing the Pentagon to send them.
Mr Biden was addressing reporters upon his return to the White House when he was asked if the US would offer the single-engine multirole fighters to Kyiv.
He replied: “No”.
The president’s statement comes amid a renewed push by Pentagon officials to provide the jets, which are manufactured by Lockheed Martin and used by a variety of US allies, in the wake of his decision to allow Kyiv to acquire American-made M1 Abrams tanks.
President Biden did not comment any further on the situation. Given that he reversed course on sending Abrams after saying that sending tanks would escalate the war, perhaps he will reverse course on the fighter jets as well.
Meanwhile, here is a brief look at what is being sent to Ukraine and by whom:
Ukraine will receive the 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks pledged by the U.K. “this side of the summer,” U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Jan. 30.
France, Australia launch joint artillery shell production for Ukraine.
France and Australia plan to produce several thousand artillery shells for Ukraine in a joint multi-million dollar project, French Defense Minister Sébastian Lecornu said on Jan. 30.
Macron does not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Jan. 30 that multiple conditions must be met before France does so. The jets should not lead to an escalation of tensions or be used to “touch Russian soil.” Macron added that the provision of fighter jets to Ukraine must also not “weaken the capacities of the French army.”
Additionally, Poland is weighing out on sending fighter jets to Ukraine. However, Germany is a hard no:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has vehemently opposed the move. “The question of combat aircraft does not arise at all,” he told Tagesspiegel in an interview published on Sunday.