U.S. President Joe Biden says that, at least “for now,” he will not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Biden indicated as much during a recent interview with ABC News anchor David Muir.
The interview took place at the White House on Friday, Feb. 24, the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The conflict between the two countries continues to this day. And, as we will see, the United States continues to provide assistance to Ukraine.
“I’m ruling it out”
It is anticipated that Russia, in the coming months is going to launch another major offensive. And, with this in mind, Muir, during the interview, asked President Biden whether he thinks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky needs F-16 fighter jets. Zelensky, himself, has repeatedly asked for such weaponry.
Look, we’re sending him what our seasoned military thinks he needs now. He needs tanks. He needs artillery. He needs air defense, including another [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System]. There’s things he needs now that we’re sending him to put him in a position to be able to make gains this spring and this summer going into the fall. He doesn’t need F-16s now.
Muir followed up by asking Biden whether he is saying that Ukraine “never” needs F-16 fighter jets.
Here, Biden said that not possible to know what Ukraine might need in the future, in terms of weaponry. But, he said that, at the moment, “there is no basis upon which there is a rationale, according to our military, now, to provide F-16s.”
When pushed further, Biden, referring to sending F-16s to Ukraine, said, “I am ruling it out for now.”
As stated earlier, Zelensky has been calling upon western nations, including the United States, to provide fighter jets to assist in its war against Russia. Zelensky, in fact, has ramped up such calls in recent weeks.
Thus far, The Hill reports, “the Biden administration has also provided billions of dollars in military aid since the war began one year ago, including long-range missile defense systems, air defense systems, ammunition, armored vehicles, and more.”
The Biden administration has even decided to provide Ukraine with tanks. But, it has stopped short of providing F-16 fighter jets. The Biden administration insists that such weaponry is not necessary.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, on Thursday, said, “[The Ukrainians are] about to mount a significant counteroffensive. From our perspective, F-16s are not the key capability for that offensive. It is the stuff that we are moving rapidly to the front lines now.”
During his recent visit to Ukraine, Biden, nonetheless, vowed to continue supporting Ukraine in its battle with Russia. And, this has already been evidenced by the fact that the United States, on Friday, sent another $2 billion in aid to Ukraine.