U.S. President Joe Biden said on Jan. 30 that he wouldn't send American fighter jets to Ukraine, even though the U.S. is ramping up military assistance in the form of artillery and tanks.
White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby later defended the Biden administration’s decision not to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, pointing instead to the aid the U.S. is providing, including Abrams tanks.
“What I can tell you is that there's a lot of capability that is being sent, and will be sent in the coming weeks and months," Kirby told CNN. “The kinds of capabilities that we know will be critical to helping Ukrainians again in the fighting now in the wintertime, as well as the kind of fighting that we expect that they're going to be doing in the spring.”
President Biden announced on Jan. 25 that the U.S. will send Ukraine a battalion of 31 M1 Abrams tanks, the army’s premier main battle tank, in a significant show of support for Kyiv in its fight against Russia. The 31 tanks destined for Ukraine, however, will not include "the secret armor mix that makes the Army’s newest version so lethal."
In the meantime, U.S. Transportation Command reported on Jan. 30 that they are delivering the first shipment of Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine as part of the U.S. $2.85 billion military aid agreement announced earlier this year. The shipment — containing more than 60 Bradleys — left the city of North Charleston, South Carolina, last week.