Biden Says No To Sending Fighter Jets To Ukraine

( Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested that the United States send F-16 fighter jets to them as support in their effort to fight back against invading Russia, but the U.S. will not be fulfilling that request.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden told reports America wouldn’t be sending those fighter jets to Ukraine. Some other NATO countries recently hinted that they might send fighter jets to Ukraine in the near future, the U.S. is remaining focused on just providing armor, artillery and air defense systems that are based on the ground.

The U.S. continues to say that those things are much more urgent for Ukraine so that it can protect the country’s infrastructure, which Russia has been targeting recently.

Biden was asked on Monday whether the United States would be sending F-16 fighter jets over to Ukraine, and he quickly responded: “No.”

The prime minister of Poland said the same thing earlier this week. At a press conference, Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland would only send aircraft to support Ukraine if other NATA countries were in agreement with it. He also added that Poland would “act in full coordination” for any requests like that.

Defense officials from the Netherlands said recently they would consider a request for fighter jets with an “open mind.”

Over the weekend, a senior official in the Department of Defense told Politco that the U.S. isn’t fully “opposed” to sending F-16s over to Ukraine eventually, but that the country hasn’t made the jets a top priority right now. The U.S. is much more focused, the official said, on sending Ukraine whatever tools it might need for the “immediate fight” against Russia – not future developments in that fight.

Ukraine did receive a boost to its ground forces recently, when Biden said he’d be sending the country 31 Abrams tanks that were made in the United States. That came as Germany also promised to send 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks.

Still, Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany, said the country wouldn’t be sending any F-16s to Ukraine, either.

While thankful for the additional military support, Zelensky urged the western countries to “speed up” sending Ukraine the aid they are promising. The tanks aren’t expected to arrive there anytime soon, after all.

The Ukrainian president is requesting the fourth-generation of the F-16 fighter jets, which Lockheed Martin, the company that manufactures them, says are the “latest and most advanced F-16 on the market today.”

Many military experts, though, have said that those jets wouldn’t be appropriate for Ukraine right now. One former officer who served in both the Balkans and the Middle East, Frank Ledwidge, says those jets would actually be challenging to operate over in Ukraine.

For one, he said the jets need runways that are very smooth. In addition, Ledwidge said the jets are much more complex to operate than what Ukraine’s forces are accustomed to.