Biden has not yet decided whether the US will transfer its F-16s to Ukraine

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US President Joe Biden has not yet made a final decision on whether the United States itself will transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, or whether allies will do it.

Source: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on CNN on Sunday, Politico writes

Details: On CNN's State of Affairs, Sullivan was asked if the US would send planes directly to Ukraine.

Quote from Sullivan: "I think given the numbers [of F-16s] that are currently available from the stocks of our European allies, and the fact that based on the money Congress has given us, there are so many other priorities for systems to give, it may be that we focus more on third party transfer, but the president has not made a final decision."

More details: According to Sullivan, the US previously refused to provide fighter jets to Ukraine because they were not "critically important" to the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive, but conditions are changing.

"The United States has mobilised an exceptional effort to deliver on time and in full everything Ukraine needs to launch this counteroffensive," Sullivan said. "Now that we’ve done that, we can look forward to the long-term capacity of Ukraine to be able to defend itself and deter Russian aggression. Fourth-generation fighter aircraft, Western fighter aircraft, F-16s are relevant to that fight," Sullivan said.

Background:

  • According to the media outlets, the US and its allies plan to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets as part of a long-term effort to strengthen Kyiv's security. President Joe Biden's administration has informed European allies in recent weeks that the United States will allow them to transfer the American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

  • The US President's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, confirmed that Washington will join the efforts of other countries to train Ukrainian pilots, and in the coming months, the US and its allies will discuss when and in what quantity Ukraine will receive modern fighter jets.

  • Sullivan stated that the F-16 fighter jets which Ukraine will receive from its allies will be provided on condition that they will not be used to attack Russia.

  • US President Joe Biden said that he received a "firm assurance" from Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Ukrainian forces will not use F-16 fighter jets provided by the West to invade Russian territory.

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