When asked by a journalist Monday if the U.S. plans to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, President Joe Biden simply said “no.”
Per the U.S. Air Force, these jets are “compact, multi-role fighter aircraft,” that are “highly maneuverable,” in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack.
According to CNN, “fierce fighting” continued in eastern Ukraine this week as the country closes in on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion next month. Moscow and Kyiv were battling for control of the city of Bakhmut and other strategic towns in the Donetsk region, the outlet said.
While Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine called for more weapons to be sent to the country Tuesday, he noted that “some EU states’ representatives believe [Ukraine] shouldn’t be given weapons as the war will spread to Europe.”
“Systematic shelling of frontline cities, accumulation of ordnance, redeployment of troops, additional forced mobilization in RF surely do not indicate RF’s readiness for peace,” Podolyak said about Russia.
CNN reported that Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba also called for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine during a briefing this week.
“Kuleba said Ukraine needs fighter jets and long-range missiles not to escalate but rather to act as a deterrence and defense against Russia’s continued war in Ukraine,” according to the outlet.
A former Ukrainian military commander cited by CNN said that Russian airborne units have joined Wagner mercenaries in the fight for Bakhmut as of Tuesday. Russian forces have also tried to take control of a key highway in an effort to disrupt supplies to the city, the outlet reported.
Although Biden said the U.S. will not send F-16s to Ukraine, just last week the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Mike Pyle co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Ukraine Multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform’s Steering Committee.
During this meeting, Pyle was “delivering on G7 Leaders’ December 2022 commitment and exemplifying the Biden-Harris Administration’s unwavering support for Ukraine,” according to the White House. “Representatives from G7 countries, the Government of Ukraine, and the international financial institutions discussed how to better coordinate economic support for Ukraine’s immediate financing needs and future economic recovery and reconstruction efforts.”
From the time Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 to last Tuesday, the U.S. has committed more than $29.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, said the Congressional Research Service. This includes $27.1 billion in security assistance from the Biden administration.
Biden said Monday that he plans to go to Poland, located on Ukraine’s western border, though he said he does not when he will travel there.
He appeared not to respond to a question about traveling to Ukraine.