United States President Joe Biden on Monday announced that the his country will not be providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
"No," Biden said when asked by reporters at the White House if he was in favor of sending F-16s or others.
US refusal comes as Kyiv expands its list of weapons it requires to defend against Russian forces in the occupied territories. European leaders, on the other hand, seem to be open to the idea of providing fighter jets to Ukraine, even though Kyiv has not formally requested the support.
The continuous fighting between Russian forces and Ukraine has raised concerns about the possibility of a wider conflict in the region. The Russian-appointed leader of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, claimed that Russian forces have established a presence in the eastern part of the strategically valuable town of Vugledar, but Ukraine denies these claims. Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the enemy's intense attack on the country's defence.
Last week, Western countries, including the United States and Germany, approved the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Ukraine. This move was seen as a departure from their previous position, as tanks were considered too dangerous and could risk a backlash from Russia. However, President Biden has clearly stated that he is against providing F-16s or any other fighter jets to Ukraine.
Many experts believe that both Ukraine and Russia are preparing for significant offensives in the upcoming months, and the support of Western fighter jets could enhance Ukraine's strength, which has been significantly depleted due to 11 months of war. French President Emmanuel Macron and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte are open to the idea of providing fighter jets to Ukraine but have warned against the potential escalation of the conflict. President Macron stated that "Nothing is excluded in principle".