Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HomeNewsUS NewsShould Ukraine Receive F-16s? European Allies Push, But US Reluctant

Should Ukraine Receive F-16s? European Allies Push, But US Reluctant

European allies are pushing to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter planes, but the United States remains reluctant due to concerns over cost and whether Ukraine actually needs the planes.

The question of whether Ukraine should receive F-16 fighter planes has become the latest point of contention among Western allies. Britain and the Netherlands are leading the charge to provide Ukraine with the powerful jets, but the United States, which must approve any transfers of American-made planes, remains unconvinced.

While several European allies are prepared to donate their F-16s to Ukraine, the Biden administration is skeptical that Ukraine actually needs the expensive planes, which are a staple of modern military arsenals. In fact, Kyiv’s pilots are not even allowed to train on the F-16s that are owned by European states, according to a senior Ukrainian official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

This skepticism on the part of the United States would severely limit a proposed new European coalition to help Ukraine obtain and fly F-16s. However, some European officials argue that providing Ukraine with the planes would send a powerful message to Russia and demonstrate that Western nations are willing to supply Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to defend itself against Russian aggression.

Despite its reservations, the Biden administration has reversed course in the past on Allied demands to send more powerful weaponry to Ukraine. However, the cost of the F-16s is a concern for the administration, which is already dealing with a dwindling pot of war funding. Instead, the administration is focused on speeding other American weapons to Ukraine in time for a potential counteroffensive against Russia.

While the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and Norway have signaled their willingness to donate F-16s to Ukraine, the Ukrainian government is only asking for between 24 and 36 planes at this time. It remains to be seen whether the United States will ultimately approve the transfer of the F-16s, or whether the European coalition will be able to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to defend itself.

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