President Joe Biden stated on Sunday that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine personally assured him that F-16 fighter jets would not be utilized to launch attacks on Russian territory.
During a press conference held in Hiroshima, Japan, Biden emphasized, “I have received a direct and unequivocal assurance from President Zelenskyy that they will not employ F-16s to invade Russian geographic territory.”
In a meeting with the Group of Seven (G7) leaders on Friday, Biden indicated that the United States would provide assistance in training Ukrainian pilots on modern fighter aircraft, including the American-made F-16s. This gesture potentially signifies that Washington is moving closer to equipping Ukraine with these planes. Zelenskyy joined Biden and other world leaders in Japan on Sunday. It is anticipated that Ukraine will launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces this spring.
Biden expressed optimism and support for Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, stating, “The expectation and hope is that they will be successful.” However, he chose not to delve into specific details regarding his discussions with Zelenskyy about the operation.
Ukraine has persistently appealed to its Western allies for the provision of modern fighter jets to combat Russia. However, many countries have been hesitant to fulfill this request due to concerns of being entangled in the conflict and the potential spillover of hostilities into NATO territory. Biden reassured that it is “highly unlikely” for the F-16s to be utilized in Ukraine’s forthcoming counteroffensive, but they may be deployed at a later stage if the war persists.
◾ Biden unveiled a fresh military assistance package valued at $375 million for Ukraine, encompassing ammunition and armored vehicles.
◾ Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address recorded during his return from the G7 summit, reassured his fellow citizens, saying, “The world is listening to our stance. We demand protection, security assurances, the return of all our territories and people, justice, and the realization of our Peace Formula.”