Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

US President Joe Biden addresses the media after arriving at the White House in Washington, US, on Jan. 30. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

US President Joe Biden said Monday he would not send US fighter jets to Ukraine, even as the United States ramps up military aid in the form of artillery and tanks.

“No,” Biden said when asked by a reporter if he would send F16 jets to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sought fighter jets to aid his war effort against Russia. Biden has consistently said the planes are not on the table, even as he has provided assistance in other areas.

Last week, for example, Biden announced that he would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, despite top US officials previously saying the heavy vehicles were not suitable for the country’s military.

Speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, Biden also said he wasn’t sure if he would visit Europe next month for the first anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine.

In response to a separate question, Biden said he planned to visit Poland, but wasn’t sure when.

CNN reported last week that the White House was exploring the possibility of a Biden visit to Europe to mark the twelve months since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Some background: Ukrainian leaders have renewed their call for Western fighter jets. “I sent a wish list to Santa last year, and fighter jets too [were] also on this wish list,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told CNN last week.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby acknowledged Friday that Zelensky had asked for fighter jets. “We are constantly talking to the Ukrainians about their needs and want to make sure we are doing our best to meet them – and if we can’t, some of our allies and partners can,” Kirby said.

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