Ukraine’s biggest allies have so far said they won’t send fighter jets to Kyiv, denying a key request from President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ahead of an expected escalation in fighting.
President Joe Biden said Monday that the US wouldn’t send F-16s to Ukraine, joining the UK and Germany, which have also ruled out sending their military fighters.
Kyiv’s allies have stepped up shipments of military hardware in recent weeks in an effort to bolster Ukraine’s forces ahead of a spring offensive that officials fear Russia may be planning. The US, Germany and the UK made u-turns earlier this month by promising to deliver heavy tanks to Ukraine.
“A victory of Ukraine without modern air force is scarcely imaginable,” Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Andrij Melnyk said on Twitter over the weekend. “That’s why we urgently need Western fighter jets like F-16 & F35 as well as Eurofighter & Tornado. Let’s do it together dear allies in DC & Berlin.”
Russia has failed to clinch air superiority over Ukraine, in part because it hasn’t invested in other lines of development like training, targeting systems and command and control to give it a truly credible air force, Air Marshal Johnny Stringer, the deputy commander of NATO’s Allied Air Command, said in an interview late last year.