Biden apparently rejects request to send US F-16s to Ukraine

But a US official, when asked about Biden’s remark, said “there has been no serious, high-level discussion about the F-16s.” In other words, it does not appear that Biden’s statement is the result of an internal policy review, but rather the current position of the ultimate decision maker. This official spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal internal affairs.

It is also not clear from the video of the short exchange whether the president’s “no” meant “never” or “not now”. The administration has repeatedly said that decisions about security assistance depend on battlefield realities in Ukraine. In an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer said the United States would be discussing fighter jets “very carefully” with Kyiv and its allies.

“We have not ruled out or excluded any specific system,” he added.

Another possibility is that the United States could approve the re-export of F-16s from third countries that operate them, a requirement for the transfer of American-made warplanes.

Discussions about sending F-16s to Ukraine are gaining momentum at the Pentagon, with a US Department of Defense official telling POLITICO last week: “I don’t think we’re opposed.”

Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, said Monday that Poland would be willing to supply its F-16s to Ukraine in coordination with NATO. Yet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly rejected any F-16-related requests from Kyiv.

“The question of combat aircraft does not arise at all,” Scholz said in an interview with Tagesspiegel published on Sunday. “I can only advise against entering into constant competition to outbid weapons systems.”


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