U.S. defense officials have not ruled out transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

27 January, 12:48 PM
F-16 fighter jet (Photo:suthern_bo1/flickr.com)

F-16 fighter jet (Photo:suthern_bo1/flickr.com)

The U.S. Pentagon has not ruled out the transfer of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, adding it is “not going to take anything off the table here,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press briefing on Jan. 26.

However, according to Singh, this is a capability that would require training.

“We are given air defense capability systems and, you know, we’re training the Ukrainians on the Patriots right now,” she said.

“We’ve seen them make incredible use of some of the air capabilities that not just we have given, but other countries and other partners. In terms of what’s next, you know, again, I’m not going to get ahead of any packages that haven’t been announced or any decision by the President or the Secretary. But I think our commitment remains, as you’ve seen, pretty forceful with Ukraine.”

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Meanwhile, Deputy White House national security adviser Jon Finer said that the United States would be discussing the idea of supplying fighter jets “very carefully” with Kyiv and its allies.

“We have not ruled in or out any specific systems,” the Reuters news agency quoted Finer as saying on Jan. 26.

“We have tried to tailor our assistance to the phase of the fight the Ukrainians are in.”

U.S. political news outlet Politico reported on Jan. 26 that conversations with more than half a dozen Western military officials and diplomats con-firm an internal debate about supplying Ukraine with jet fighters, but perceived fears of escalation by Russia remain high.

Earlier, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Netherlands would consider transferring F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, should Kyiv make a corresponding request.

France has also not ruled out the possibility of transferring fighter jets to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, though it also raised concerns of a perceived escalation.

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