WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden said Monday he will not be sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help its war against Russian invaders.
“No,” he said when asked by reporters at the White House if he was in favor of sending the jets, which Ukraine’s leaders have said are at the top of their latest weapons wish list.
Western nations this month finally agreed after serious divisions to send Ukraine modern NATO-standard tanks, one of the most powerful weapons in their conventional armies.
The upgrade in support sparked hope in Kyiv that it will soon begin getting F-16 warplanes to bolster its own depleted air force, but the issue remains very much under debate in the West.
With the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion on February 24 looming, there are growing expectations that Biden could travel to Europe as a show of support for the alliance supporting Ukraine. Poland is at the heart of the effort as a logistics hub, provider of weapons, and key US ally in eastern Europe.
“I’m going to be going to Poland. I don’t know when, though,” he told reporters when asked about a visit.