Biden Says No F-16s to Ukraine

(AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Speculation had been building that Joe Biden would take the dangerous step of supplying advanced F-16 fighter planes to Ukraine. The Pentagon was strongly pushing the idea, and other nations — Poland in particular — were eager to lend a hand.

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But Biden threw cold water on the idea of giving Ukraine F-16s. Asked on the White House lawn if the U.S. was going to supply Ukraine with the fighters, Biden simply said, “No.”

While Moscow would see sending advanced fighters as highly provocative and destabilizing, the primary reason the U.S. won’t send them is that it just isn’t “practical,” as Great Britain pointed out. It might take months to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced fighters like the F-16 or Britain’s Typhoon.

It may also be that Moscow quietly made a direct threat in response to the idea of fighter jets for Ukraine.

Associated Press:

Asked Tuesday about the supplies of Western weapons to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated the Kremlin’s view that “NATO long has been directly involved into a hybrid war against Russia.”

He added after the talks in Moscow with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the Russian military will “take all the necessary measures to derail the fulfillment of Western plans.”

He said that Shoukry conveyed a message from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about Ukraine, which repeated the previous calls from Washington for Russia to withdraw.

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It’s not just Poland lobbying for F-16s. It’s also Lithuania and the Baltic States asking Biden to send the planes — nations once occupied by Russia and who have the most to fear from an emboldened Putin.

One other possibility is the transfer from Poland of a couple of dozen MIG-29 fighters — leftovers from Poland’s Warsaw Pact days. But Biden has already considered that possibility and has rejected it — so far — as being too provocative.

Biden also considered sending tanks at one time and rejected the idea for the same reason. Now, here we are sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. With Biden, nothing is off the table.

When will we know that Joe Biden has gone too far in poking the Russian bear by giving Ukraine ever more sophisticated weapons?

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