Western allies differ over jets for Ukraine as Russia claims gains

  • Biden says “no” when asked about F-16 for Ukraine.
  • Zelensky says Moscow wants ‘big revenge’
  • The Russian administrator requests a foothold in Vuhledar
  • Kyiv could recapture the territory when the Western weapons – group arrives

Kyiv, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s defense minister is expected to meet President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday amid a debate among Kiev’s allies over whether to provide fighter jets for its war against Russia after U.S. President Joe Biden ruled out the possibility of giving F-16s.

Ukraine planned to pursue Western fourth-generation fighters such as the F-16 after securing delivery of main battle tanks last week, an adviser to Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday.

Asked at the White House on Monday whether the U.S. would provide the F-16, Biden told reporters, “No.”

However, France and Poland appear ready to honor any such request from Ukraine, with Macron telling reporters in The Hague on Monday that “by definition, nothing is excluded” when it comes to military aid.

In remarks on French television before Biden spoke in Washington, Macron stressed that any such move would depend on several factors, including the need to avoid escalation and assurances that the plane would not “touch Russian soil.” He said that Reznikov will also meet his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Paris on Tuesday.

Also Read :  US Eyes APEC to Boost Commercial Ties, Despite Biden’s Absence

In Poland on Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also did not rule out a possible delivery of F-16s to neighboring Ukraine in response to a reporter’s question before Biden spoke.

In comments posted on his website, Morawiecki said any such transfer would take place “in full coordination” with NATO countries.

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, noted “positive signals” from Poland and said France “does not rule out” such a move in separate posts on its Telegram channel.

Biden’s comments came shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had begun retaliating against Ukraine’s resistance to its invasion with relentless attacks in the east.

Zelensky has warned for weeks that Moscow plans to step up its offensive after about two months of virtual standoff along the front line that stretches across the south and east.

Ukraine got a big boost last week when Germany and the United States announced plans to supply heavy tanks, ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock over the issue.

Although there were no signs of a new wider Russian offensive, the governor of the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Denis Pushilin, said Russian troops had secured a foothold in Vuhledar, a coal-mining town whose ruins had been a Ukrainian bastion. since the beginning of the war.


Pushilin said Ukrainian forces continue to pour reinforcements into Bakhmut, Maryinka and Vuhledar, three towns that run north-south just west of Donetsk city. Russian state news agency TASS quoted him as saying that Russian forces are advancing there, but “not clear, it’s that the battle here is literally for every meter.”

Also Read :  Analysis: At Qatar World Cup, Mideast tensions spill into stadiums

Ukraine still controls Mariinka and Vuhledar, where Russian attacks were less intense on Monday, according to Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov.

Pushilin’s adviser, Yan Gagin, said fighters from the Russian Wagner mercenaries had taken partial control of a supply road leading to Bakhmut, a town that has been the focus of Moscow’s attention for months.

A day earlier, the Wagner leader said his fighters had secured Blahodatne, a village north of Bakhmut.

Kyiv said it had repelled attacks on Blahodatne and Vuhledar, but Reuters could not independently verify the situation there. But the locations of the reported skirmishes showed clear, if gradual, Russian gains.

In the central region of Zaporozhye and in the southern region of Kherson, Russian forces shelled more than 40 settlements, the Ukrainian General Staff announced. Among the targets was the city of Kherson, where there were victims.

The Russians also launched four rocket attacks on Ochakiv in southern Mykolaiv, the military said, on the day Zelensky met with the Danish prime minister in the northeastern city of Mykolaiv.

Also Read :  Biden and Macron affirm commitment to Ukraine but diverge on willingness to speak with Putin


Most of the hundreds of modern tanks and armored vehicles promised to Ukraine by Western countries in recent weeks are still months away from being delivered.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the 14 Challenger tanks donated by Britain would be on the front line around April or May, without specifying a specific timetable.

Zelensky calls on the West to speed up the delivery of the promised weapons so that Ukraine can go on the offensive.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Western arms-supplying countries are leading “to greater and greater direct involvement of NATO countries in the conflict – but this has no potential to change the course of events and will not.”

The US-based Institute for the Study of War said “last year’s Western failure to provide the necessary materiel” was the main reason Kiev’s advance had stalled since November.

The researchers said in the report that Ukraine could still retake the territory once the promised weapons arrived.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, justified by Moscow as necessary to protect the neighborhood’s ties to the West, has killed tens of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.

Reporting by Reuters bureaus; By Doina Chiacu and Stephen Coates; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button