President Biden on Monday said the U.S. would not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, even as allied nations like France say they are considering all options as a major Russian offensive looms.
Speaking to reporters from the South Lawn, Biden replied with a simple “no” when asked if the U.S. would send the sophisticated warplanes to Kyiv.
Earlier in the day, French President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing is excluded” when he was asked if France would consider sending Ukraine jets.
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Though Macron noted that certain conditions would need to be met, including the guarantee that they would not be used “to touch Russian soil,” reported Radio Free Europe.
Macron’s comments came during a joint news conference at The Hague with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who also reportedly said there is “no taboo” when it comes to sending Ukraine warplanes, but he added that Kyiv has not formally requested any jets from the Netherlands.
Ukraine has been calling for fighter jets since the war broke out nearly a year ago, though it is unclear who Kyiv has formally requested warplanes from.
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The U.S. has long resisted sending warplanes to Ukraine, including Soviet-era jets from neighboring nations like Poland, over concerns it could escalate the war beyond Ukraine’s boundaries.
Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Oleksiy Makeyev told local outlet DW that Kyiv had not formally requested warplanes from Berlin either, though Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday that Germany would not send warplanes to Ukraine.
Both Germany and the U.S. have reversed previous stances on security assistance for Kyiv, most recently deciding after months of deliberation to send tanks to Ukraine’s front lines.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday championed the support of allied nations but noted that timing was important.
“Sometimes good decisions, when slowed down, end up being weak,” he warned.