President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which the Ukrainian defense minister asked for the delivery the day before. However, Biden promised to visit Poland, Kyiv's most important ally, the Voice of America reports.
"No," Biden answered unequivocally, commenting at the White House on a reporter's question about whether the president supports sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
This month, after much discussion, Western countries agreed to send modern tanks to Ukraine.
The increased support has raised hopes in Kyiv that Ukrainians will soon be able to receive F-16s to support their air force, but the issue is still under active discussion in the West.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24, expectations are growing that Biden may travel to Europe to show support for the alliance. Poland is at the center of the effort as a logistics center, arms supplier and key U.S. ally in Eastern Europe.
Ukraine's defense secretary said last week that he will now insist on supplying Western fourth-generation fighter jets such as the U.S. F-16s after Kyiv succeeded in getting tanks.