Joe Biden has ruled out sending the F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine has requested in its ongoing war with Russia. Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Mr Biden was asked if the US would supply the jets, to which he replied “no”.
On Friday, an advisor to Ukraine’s defence minister said that Ukraine planned to push for fourth -generation fighter jets such as the F-16.
Yuriy Sak, who advises Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, told Reuters that securing the jets was the next “hurdle” for Kyiv.
He said: “The next big hurdle will now be the fighter jets.”
Last week Ukraine received a huge boost when the US promised to send Abhams to Kyiv while Germany also agreed to send Leopard 2 tanks after considerably diplomatic pressure.
However, according to Reuters, the hundreds of tanks that Western nations have pledged to send to Ukraine are still months away from delivery.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Western countries to speed up the delivery of the weaponry.
There are fears that without the new weapons Ukraine will be unable to launch a successful counteroffensive.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War think-tank has argued that “the West’s failure to provide the necessary materiel” last year is the main reason that Ukrainian advances have halted since last November.
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He said: “I think that Russia really wants its big revenge. I think they have (already) started it.”
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, on Monday Russian forces had shelled a dozen settlements in the Bakhmut area.
Denis Pushilin, head of the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said that Russian forces had made ground in the coal mining town of Vuhledar while there were ongoing battles in the towns of Bakhmut and Maryinka.
Russian news agency TASS quoted Pushilin as saying that Russian forces were making gains but “not clear-cut, that is, here there is a battle for literally every meter.”