Sorting by


Volodymyr Zelensky has given ‘flat assurance’ Ukraine won’t use  F-16 fighter jets in Russia, says Joe Biden

Volodymyr Zelensky has given “flat assurance” Ukraine will not use F-16 fighter jets provided by Western allies for attacks within Russia, Joe Biden has said.

The US president told reporters at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, that F-16 warplanes could be used “wherever Russian troops are within Ukraine and the area”.

He said it was “highly unlikely” the planes would be used in any Ukrainian offensive in the coming weeks, but that Ukrainian troops could need such weapons to defend themselves against Russian forces beyond their current reach.

Mr Biden did not clarify whether the planes could be used in Crimea, part of the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine that the Kremlin regards as part of Russia.

The leader also announced $375m (£301m) more in aid for Ukraine, which included more ammunition, artillery, and vehicles on the final day of the three-day summit.

In addition to a new pledge of support for Ukraine, the US has agreed to allow training on American-made F-16 fighter jets, laying the groundwork for their eventual transfer to Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky said on Sunday he was confident that Kyiv would receive supplies of F-16 fighter jets from the West to help repel Russia – but said he did not know how many would be provided.

Ukraine is yet to receive specific, public commitments on the delivery of the military aircraft.

Ukraine’s president has long called for allies to provide his country with F-16 fighter jets but nations have been hesitant over concerns they could be used on targets within Russia.

The F-16 has a highly sophisticated bomb-aiming system and greater radar capabilities than the Soviet-era aircraft currently used by Ukraine.

Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass reported on Saturday that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Western countries were continuing to escalate their actions in relation to the conflict and suggested Russia would respond accordingly.

Mr Grushko told the news agency: “We can see that Western countries continue to stick to an escalation scenario, which carries enormous risks for them. In any case, we will take it into account when making plans. We have all the necessary means to achieve our goals.”

Mr Biden said the entire G7 were supporting Ukraine, while G7 host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was committed to “strong backing for Ukraine from every possible dimension”.

The affirmation of support from the richest democracies comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have taken the eastern city of Bakhmut after months of fighting, which Mr Zelensky denies.

Asked about the claims ahead of his meeting with Mr Biden, Mr Zelensky said: “You have to understand that there is nothing. They destroyed everything. For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button