Western Allies Divided In Response To Ukraine’s Newest Pleas For Jets

Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
Font Size:

Despite a “no” from the White House Monday, Ukraine again urged allies to consider fighter jets after France’s Emmanuel Macron refused to rule out the possibility of warplanes.

“By definition, nothing is excluded,” the BBC quoted the French president ahead of meeting a Ukrainian minister Monday. Macron specified certain conditions under which the NATO member might send warplanes to Ukraine, including a provision that they not be used “to touch Russian soil,” The Associated Press (AP) reported. Sending such equipment must also not “weaken the capacities of the French army,” Macron said.

The Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte described eastbound planes as a “very big next step,” but said “there are no taboos” in efforts to help Ukraine, The AP noted. The Dutch nation has so far received no formal request from Kyiv for F16 fighter jets, according to the outlet. “It is very important we keep supporting Ukraine and that Ukraine articulates to us what they need,” Rutte said.

Tentative consideration by some allies stands in stark contrast to the United States’ current official position on warplanes for Ukraine. When asked by a reporter Monday on the prospect of jets for Kyiv, President Bidenresponded with a simple “no,” Politico reported. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Biden Said Sending Tanks To Ukraine Would Help Start WWIII. Well, He Just Sent Them)

The White House’s official position comes even as some in the Pentagon are quietly urging the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Politico reported. Officials on both sides of the Atlantic differ on whether or not the move would be viewed as escalatory by Russia and might risk nuclear war, according to those cited by the outlet.

The United Kingdom also rebuffed Ukraine’s calls, according to The Associated Press. The UK regards their fighter jets as impractical for Ukraine, as they “are extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday.

Ukraine responded to mixed messaging from allies with optimism, recalling Germany’s initial reluctance to send Leopard tanks, The AP reported. “All types of help first passed through the “no” stage,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said of the stages leading up to transfer of equipment. “Remember the story of the German Leopards — the answer was also ‘no,’” he added. Reznikov believes an “airplane coalition is within reach.”