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There have been no high-level talks between Ukraine and the U.S. about providing F-16 fighter jets, and the delivery of such aircraft to Kyiv cannot be ruled out in the future, Politico reported on Jan. 31, citing U.S. officials.
Critics argue that allies' reluctance to supply F-16 fighters and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a major offensive and liberating Ukrainian territory. Ukraine's lack of advanced aircraft and missiles is also likely to prolong Russia's war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.
A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that “there has been no serious, high-level discussion about F-16s," Politico reported.
When asked by a reporter on Jan. 30 whether the U.S. would send F-16 fighters to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden said "no."
However, it's unclear from the video of Biden's response if the president’s “no” meant “never” or “not now", according to Politico.
Earlier in January U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said the U.S. would be discussing fighter jets “very carefully” with Kyiv and its allies.
“We have not ruled in or out any specific systems,” he added.
Biden will talk to Zelensky about the weapons Ukraine needs at some point, AFP reported.
Discussions about sending F-16s to Ukraine are gaining steam at the Pentagon, Politico reported. A U.S. defense official told Politico that the Pentagon is not opposed.