Biden closes on sending the F16s. But Kiev insists: ‘we need 200’ – Europe

After the Paris opening, the United States closes the door to Kiev on fighter jets to counter the Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Joe Biden ruled out the option by responding with a resounding “no” to the question of whether he was in favor of sending F16s, immediately after announcing an upcoming trip to Poland without specifying whether it will be on the anniversary of the war, on 24 February. After Germany, therefore, the anti-jet front is widening – at least for now – which is also joined by London. Because British aircraft “are extremely sophisticated and require months of training”, so “we believe it is impractical to supply them to Ukraine”, Downing Street cut short. Even our friend Poland excludes that Warsaw is talking about supplying fighters, after being the leader in the campaign to ensure the arrival of Western tanks in Ukraine:

“There are currently no official discussions on the transfer of F16s,” Deputy Defense Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz said. However, Kiev does not give up and pulls out the numbers: at least 200 fighters are needed to defend the country’s skies, according to Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat, who added that “at the moment the F16 is the most likely candidate to replace the old Soviet aircraft” in use in the country. In the meantime, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksy Reznikov flew to Paris, where he obtained confirmation that for France to talk about hunting in Kiev “is not a taboo”, in the words of his counterpart Sebastien Lecornu. And after receiving a new French supply of 12 Caesar guns in addition to the 18 already delivered, Reznikov said he was “optimistic” about a future supply of aircraft. Even Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Kiev is already “conducting active negotiations to unblock” long-range missiles and fighters from the West, but it is clear that the question of jets is even more difficult than the already thorny one of tanks , obtained from Kiev after days of fire before the announcements of Germany and the United States. Precisely on tanks Kuleba has foreseen the arrival of 120 to 140 vehicles in a “first wave” of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries, for which, however, we will have to wait at least for spring.

The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella also underlined that Ukraine needs weapons to end the war, stating that “the political, economic and military support for Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia are functional to ending the war, not feed it.” However, diplomatic tensions are escalating: the United States has accused Russia of not respecting the New Start, the last treaty for the control of atomic weapons left between the two nuclear superpowers, while Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reported having received the invitation of the US counterpart Blinken to stop the offensive in Ukraine. But this is clearly not the intention of Moscow, which looks to its allies: after the announcement of a visit to the Kremlin by Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the spring – however not confirmed by Beijing -, Vladimir Putin announced joint military training centers with Minsk, and Belarusian president Lukashenko has said he is ready to provide further help to Moscow in the war, even if at the moment it “doesn’t need it”.

For Kiev, on the other hand, there is only one ‘peace formula’, the 10-point one drawn up by President Zelensky which provides, among other things, for the restoration of the integrity of all of Ukraine, which is unacceptable for Moscow. As known, the Ukrainian government is evaluating together with the allies to ask the 193 UN member countries to vote in the Assembly on a resolution precisely on the peace plan on the occasion of the anniversary of the war, with the hypothesis of a visit by Zelensky to the Glass Palace in New York on the eve of February 24th. However, numerous countries – ANSA learns from diplomatic sources at the UN – are not convinced at all, signaling the risk of obtaining limited support which would in fact be counterproductive. Meanwhile, the war continues on the ground: in Bakhmut, a hot spot of the war in Donetsk, two civilians were killed by Russian bombs, including a 12-year-old boy. According to ISW analysts, Russia probably has not yet used all its reserves, and is strengthening the army in the Donbass to prepare for another “imminent offensive”. Meanwhile, more than 9,000 Russian citizens have been flown home after being mistakenly sent to war, Russian Attorney General Igor Krasnov said.

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Biden closes on sending the F16s. But Kiev insists: ‘we need 200’ – Europe

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