U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that he would not send U.S. fighter jets to Ukraine despite the U.S. stepping up military support in the form of artillery and tanks.
When asked by reporters whether he would send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Mr Biden said “no.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is looking for fighter jets to sustain the war effort against Russia. Biden has consistently said planes are off the agenda, despite his support in other areas.
Last week, for example, Biden announced that he would be sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, but U.S. officials have previously said heavy vehicles were unsuitable for the Ukrainian military.
On the White House South Lawn, Biden also said he wasn’t sure if he would visit Europe next month to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine.
In response to a separate question, Biden said he planned to visit Poland, but didn’t know when.
CNN reported last week that the White House is exploring the possibility of Biden visiting Europe to mark the 12 months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
background: Ukrainian leaders have renewed their appeal to Western fighters. “Last year I sent a wish list card to Santa Claus, and even fighter planes [were] Defense Minister Reznikov told CNN last week.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Friday that Zelensky had requested the fighter jets. “We are always talking to Ukrainians about their needs and want to make sure we are doing our best to meet them. We want it to be,” Kirby said.