Biden to discuss Ukrainian defense needs with Zelenskyy
Joe Biden (Photo:REUTERS/Leah Millis)
U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to discuss Kyiv's requests for weapons to defend itself against Russian invasion with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, AFP correspondent Sebastian Smith wrote on Twitter on Jan. 31.
Smith cited Biden's comments to journalists.
The day before, the U.S. leader told the press that the United States would not supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. At the same time, according to new website Politico, there has been no serious high-level discussion about the F-16s in the United States.
Biden announced on Jan. 25 that the United States would supply Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks, which the Pentagon had previously ruled out supplying to Ukraine.
Earlier, on Jan. 20, the White House announced a new $2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine, which includes Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker armored personnel carriers, Avenger air defense systems, high-precision 155-mm artillery rounds, and more.
Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said that Ukraine needs up to 200 multi-purpose aircraft for defense, and the F-16 is the most likely candidate to replace old Soviet fighters.
Earlier, Politico reported that European countries are discussing supplying Ukraine with fighter jets after the decision to transfer tanks, but some NATO states fear a possible escalation.
The Netherlands has announced its readiness to provide Ukraine with its F-16 fighter jets, and French President Emmanuel Macron has also not ruled out supplying F-16s to Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that coordination with NATO was a condition for the transfer of the fighter jets.
The U.S. company Lockheed Martin announced that it is ready to source its F-16s to countries that will transfer the planes to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on allies to provide Ukraine with longer-range missiles and F-16s during a “Ramstein format” meeting of Ukraine’s military allies on Jan. 20.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba subsequently said that some of Ukraine's European partners have already "taken up the issue of fighter jets."
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