Biden says the U.S. will NOT send F-16 jets to Ukraine after promising to deliver M1 Abrams tanks and still doesn’t know if he can get to Kyiv when he visits Europe in the future
- President Joe Biden told reporters ‘no’ when asked if he’d send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
- The president also said ‘I’m not sure’ when asked if he would take a trip to Europe next month to mark the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion
- Biden did say he’d visit Ukraine-adjacent Poland, but he didn’t know when
President Joe Biden answered in the negative Monday when asked if he’d send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
‘No,’ he told reporters on the South Lawn.
The president also said ‘I’m not sure’ when asked if he would take a trip to Europe next month to mark the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion on February 24.
Biden did say he’d visit Ukraine-adjacent Poland, but he didn’t know when.
President Joe Biden answered questions from reporters as he returned from Baltimore late Monday afternoon. He said ‘no’ when asked if the United States would send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
F-16 fighter jets can fly more than 500 miles and locate targets in all weather conditions. They can also detect low flying aircrafts
Biden and NATO leaders are scheduled to hold their next summit in nearby Lithuania in July.
The president talked to reporters after returning to the White House late Monday afternoon from Baltimore, where he delivered an infrastructure speech after spending the night at home in Wilmington, Delaware so his wife could travel to Philadelphia to watch her beloved Eagles win the NFC Championship Game.
Politico reported Saturday that a handful of Pentagon officials have been pushing the Defense Department to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, to help ward off Russian missile and drone strikes.
F-16 fighter jets can fly more than 500 miles and locate targets in all weather conditions. They can also detect low flying aircrafts.
‘I don’t think we are opposed,’ a senior unnamed DoD source told the news outlet before Biden’s pronouncement on Monday.
Ukraine is currently outfitted with Soviet-era war jets.
Another option would be for the American-made F-16s to come from another country, with Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra saying last week that his cabinet would look into supplying the planes, but would need U.S. approval for the transfer.
Earlier Monday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, said that Ukraine has not formally requested the Netherlands’ jets.
Rutte and Biden spoke about Ukraine by phone Monday morning, the White House said, but the president called the conversation ‘private’ during his chat with reporters on the South Lawn.
The Netherlands, Finland and Germany are in the process of upgrading to U.S.-made F-35 fighters, meaning a number of older war jets will become available to possibly help Ukraine’s war effort.
Last week, Biden committed 31 American M1 Abrams tanks to the war effort, after previously saying the U.S. would not be sending Ukraine tanks.
The announcement came after a long back-and-forth with Germany, which ended with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreeing to send Leopard 2 tanks to the wartorn country.
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