Despite fresh requests from Ukrainian officials for immediate air support, US Vice President Joe Biden has ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets. On Monday, a reporter asked Vice President Biden if the United States would be providing the planes; Biden simply said, “no.” This comes after the German leader also denied sending fighter jets the day before.
Since the beginning of the conflict with Russia, Ukraine has been demanding that its allies send cutting-edge warplanes to help Kyiv seize control of its airspace. There should be no restrictions on military aid, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials, but the United States and its allies are concerned that doing so could escalate tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.
The MiGs and other Soviet-era fighter jets that Ukraine uses now would be replaced by modern F-16s manufactured in the United States. Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. On the other hand, Mr. Biden has repeatedly ignored Ukraine’s requests for the jets in favour of providing military aid in other sectors.
The United States has changed its mind and will now provide 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Support was also promised from the United Kingdom and Germany. Andriy Melnyk, deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, expressed satisfaction with the news but requested that the alliance also provide Ukraine with Eurofighters, Tornados, French Rafales, and Swedish Gripen jets as part of a “fighter jet coalition.”
After his government committed to sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Germany’s chancellor said in an interview on Sunday that discussing sending any further military aid to Ukraine “seemed frivolous. “Nato would “not allow such an escalation,” Olaf Scholz told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, reiterating the alliance’s position that it was not at war with Russia.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macon said, “by definition, nothing is excluded,” implying that France may provide military aid to Ukraine. But he stressed that it couldn’t increase tensions or weaken France’s defences. Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov of Ukraine is currently in Paris to meet with high-ranking French officials about the matter.
Ukraine’s other major ally, Poland, has not ruled out supplying Kyiv with F-16s. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, however, has stated that such a step could only be taken “in complete co-ordination” with the other members of Nato. Presidential aide Andriy Yermak said that Warsaw had sent “positive signals” to Ukraine.
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In addition to its use by the United States, other countries like Belgium and Pakistan have also adopted the F-16 Fighting Falcon as their primary fighter aircraft. The US Air Force claims it has a top speed of 2,400 kilometres per hour (or 1,500 miles per hour) and can be fitted with precision-guided missiles and bombs.
Ukraine could more accurately attack Russian forces at night and in adverse weather with the help of the F-16’s superior targeting capabilities. Russian officials have repeatedly accused Nato of acting as a proxy aggressor, and many members of the alliance, including the United States and Germany, have been hesitant to send military aid for fear of escalating the conflict.