United States President Joe Biden said on Monday that it would not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help in its war against the Russian invasion.
“No,” the president replied when asked by journalists at the White House whether he was in favor of sending those planes, which Ukrainian leaders say top their last list of wanted weapons.
After serious divisions, the Western nations finally agreed last week to send modern tanks with NATO standardsone of the most powerful weapons of their conventional armies.
Improved military support has raised hopes for kyiv to start receiving F-16 fighter jets soon to bolster its dwindling air force, but this remains a matter of heated debate in the West.
The reinforcement of the Ukrainian Air Force with fourth-generation combat aircraft such as the American F16 has become a priority task for the president, Volodimir Zelensky, who on January 26 in his usual night speech stressed that “Russian aggression can and must be stopped with adequate weapons.”
As the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine looms on February 24, there are growing expectations that Biden will travel to Europe as a show of support for the alliance backing Ukraine.
Poland is at the heart of the Western effort as a logistics hub, arms supplier and a key US ally in Eastern Europe.
“I’ll be going to Poland, although I don’t know when”Biden told reporters when asked about a possible visit.
For his part, European leaders were open to the idea of sending advanced fighter jetseven if Ukraine has not yet formally requested them.
The French President, Emmanuel Macronsaid on Monday that he would not rule out delivering fighter jets to Ukraine, though he warned of the danger of escalating the conflict.
Macron held talks with the Dutch Prime Minister, mark ruttewho already raised the idea of sending Dutch F-16s.
“There is no taboo, but it would be a big step,” Rutte said.
In South America, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva He ruled out sending munitions to Ukraine and instead proposed creating a peace group to end the conflict, upon receiving German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“Brazil is a country of peace,” he emphasized on Monday at a joint press conference at the Planalto Palace, adding: “My suggestion is that we create a group of countries that sits at the table with Ukraine and Russia to try to reach an peace”.
(With information from AFP, EFE and Europa Press)
Zelensky asked Ukraine’s allies to do what they can to defend against Russia
80% of the prisoners recruited by the Wagner Group to fight in Ukraine are dead or missing
Incessant fighting in eastern Ukraine: Russian shells killed five