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Biden says he is ruling out giving Ukraine F-16s ‘for now’

President Joe Biden visits Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 20, 2023. (The White House/Released)

President Joe Biden said he is ruling out Ukraine’s request for F-16 fighter jets at this time, despite increased pressure from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“He doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden said interview with ABC News that aired Friday. “I am ruling it out for now.”

The U.S. has resisted sending Ukraine F-16 warplanes over concerns their delivery could further escalate the war, which is entering its second year.

Biden highlighted other advanced weapons systems the U.S. is providing to Zelenskyy’s forces.

“Look, we’re sending him what our seasoned military thinks he needs now. He needs tanks, he needs artillery, he needs air defense, including another HIMAR,” Biden said, using the acronym for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

Earlier Friday, the U.S. announced sanctions and export controls on more than 250 individuals and entities that it said were tied to Russia’s energy, defense, and financial services sectors or who were aiding Moscow in subverting existing penalties.

Biden and other leaders of the Group of Seven also said they planned to keep ratcheting up financial pressure going forward, with the U.S. saying particular focus will be paid to “dual use” products that can be repurposed by Russia for military use.

The U.S. also announced its plans to deliver more than $2 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, focused on both defense systems and aid for government services like electricity and heating.

Biden and Zelenskyy met earlier this week in Kyiv, part of a surprise trip by the U.S. president.


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