With less than a month to go before the one-year anniversary of the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden announced that he will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to assist Volodymir Zelensky's government in its fight against Russia. Hours earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that his government would deploy 14 Leopard 2 tanks. These concessions came after Kiev's repeated requests for military assistance from the international community. These requests continue.
Yuriy Sak, an advisor to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, told Reuters that they need military aircraft, such as F-16s, to defeat Vladimir Putin's regime:
The next big hurdle will now be the fighter jets. If we get them, the advantages on the battlefield will be just immense... It's not just F-16s: fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want.
It is understood that the Ukrainian defense requirement comes from the age of its fleet. Reznikov went so far as to claim that Western fighters would be an "immense" advantage in their fight against Russia.
No U.S. aviation is scheduled to be dispatched
National Security Advisor John Kirby confirmed "ongoing discussions" with Ukraine about sending military aviation. However, he assured that the talks "evolve as conditions change."
While speaking to reporters, the U.S. official wanted to clarify that, for the time being, there are no plans to provide combat aircraft:
You can't blame Ukrainians for wanting more and more systems. It's not the first time they've talked about fighter jets, but I don't have any announcements to make on that front.
Moscow's reaction to Western tank shipments
Hours after Biden's and Scholz's announcements, warning sirens sounded throughout the Ukrainian territory. Putin's army bombed several buildings. Ukrainian Army Commander-in-Chief Valeri Zaluzhni reported:
The enemy carried out 55 air-launched and sea-launched missile launches with rockets from aircraft and ships located in the Black Sea.