F-16 Fighters Not Required In Ukraine With US Already Sending New Capabilities To Hold Russia
The United States does not have to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as it is already providing Kyiv with many new capabilities recently announced in the latest aid packages, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in an interview.
Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden told reporters that the United States would not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
“What I can tell you is that many skills are being sent and will be sent in the coming weeks and months,” Kirby told CNN on Monday. “The types of skills we know will be critical in helping Ukrainians fight again now in the winter, as well as the types of fights we expect them to fight in the spring.”
The United States recently announced that it will send up to 31 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, up to 109 Bradley battle vehicles armed with anti-tank missile systems, and dozens of other Stryker battle vehicles.
Kyiv has long lobbied for Washington to provide F-16 fighter jets to bolster its armed forces amid the Russian military operation.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on NATO countries to unblock the delivery of long-range missiles and military aircraft to Kyiv after Western countries announced their intention to supply Ukraine with main battle tanks.
A group of US military officials is quietly lobbying to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which is gaining momentum at the Defense Department as Kyiv prepares for a planned offensive this spring, Politico reported, citing sources.
It could be weeks before the United States makes a decision on such shipments, the report said. The fighter jets would have to be sourced from the country’s own reserves or re-exported from other countries.
Meanwhile, the United States sent its first shipment of Bradley combat vehicles to Ukraine last week, the U.S. Transportation Command said in a press release.
“US Transportation Command is delivering the first shipment of Bradley combat vehicles to Ukraine under the US $2.85 billion military assistance deal announced earlier this year,” the press release said Monday.
According to the press release, the first shipment sent to Ukraine includes more than 60 Bradley vehicles and took off from North Charleston, South Carolina last week.
Starting Monday, the United States is supplying Ukraine with 109 Bradley vehicles armed with anti-tank missiles. The United States announced its decision to send Bradley combat vehicles to Ukraine in early January.
The United States has provided $27.1 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian military operation began in late February 2022.
Russia began special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. In April, Moscow sent a memo to NATO member states condemning their military assistance to Kyiv amid the conflict. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said supplying Ukraine with arms does not contribute to the success of the peace talks.
From the Sputnik news agency