Day 342: Biden Says US Won't Provide F-16 Fighter Jets to Ukraine
- US Pres. Biden has — for the time being — ruled out providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. Asked by reporters at the White House on Monday if the US would provide the aircraft, Biden said, 'No.'
- This comes as Ukraine's defense minister Oleksii Reznikov traveled to Paris to meet with French Pres. Macron and to raise the prospect of warplanes on Tuesday. Earlier, Macron didn't rule out providing warplanes as long as certain conditions were met — including that it did not lead to an escalation, that they would not be used 'to touch Russian soil,' and that it would not 'weaken the capacities of the French army.'
- Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki also signaled that his country may be willing to provide fighter jets. However, he stressed such a move would only be made in consultation with NATO allies. 'We coordinate all actions aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s defense forces with our NATO partners,' he said.
- Meanwhile, Zoran Milanović, the President of Croatia — which is a NATO country — has hit out at the West's providing of military aid to Ukraine. 'I am against sending any lethal arms there, it prolongs the war,' he said. 'What is the goal? Disintegration of Russia, change of the government? There is also talk of tearing Russia apart. This is mad.'
- In comments that were widely criticized by Ukrainian officials, Milanović added: 'It is clear that Crimea' — which Russia annexed in 2014 — 'will never again be part of Ukraine.'
- Elsewhere, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected criticism from Ukraine after it said that Russian athletes would be given the opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Ukraine's Pres., said the IOC promotes 'violence, mass murder, destruction' with its decision; the IOC responded that it 'strongly rejects this and other defamatory statements.'
- Meanwhile, on the ground, Russian attacks were recorded in the regions of Kherson, Sumy, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Donetsk in the past day. Ukrainian officials reported that three civilians were injured in the Donetsk region. Pro-Russia officials from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) reported that one civilian was injured in Ukrainian attacks.
Sources: Guardian, Wiltshiretimes, Guardian, Daily Mail, Rferl, Pravda and Ukrinform.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by CNN. Now that Ukraine has fulfilled its desire for tanks, it is rightly asking for modern fighter jets to replace its long-outdated Soviet-era fighters. While the aircraft will not be a magic bullet, Western partners will continue to discuss Ukraine's needs in order to help them defeat Russia. Whether fighter jets are provided in the coming months is an open question.
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. Irrespective of what weapons Ukraine receives, Russia's special military operation will continue till it meets its intended objectives. Western weapons simply drag out the conflict while increasing the prospect of an escalation into all-out war.
- Nerd narrative, as provided by Metaculus. There's a 28% chance that there will be a large-scale armed conflict in Russia before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.