Russia-Ukraine war: Biden says US will not provide warplanes

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 (15:21 IST)
The US says it will not be providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, as the country continues to battle invading Russian forces.
Answering a question on whether the US would make provisions for warplanes, US President Joe Biden simply told reporters: "No."
French President Emmanuel Macron however appears willing to consider more weaponry for Kyiv. While on a visit to the Hague, he said: "In principle, nothing is prohibited," but added that a number of factors would need to be taken into account, primarily avoiding escalation of the conflict and the assurance that the planes would not "touch Russian soil."
Macron's comments come ahead of a visit by Ukraine's defense minister, who is expected in Paris on Tuesday for talks.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also indicated that he was not averse to the idea of providing fighter aircraft to Ukraine but did say any transfer would need to be done "in complete coordination" with NATO member states.
Just under a week ago, several countries pledged to send battle tanks to Ukraine to help fend off invading Russian forces, after continued requests from Ukraine's leadership.
Germany approved the export of Leopard 2 battle tanks from its own stocks as well as from third-party allies.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksii Makeiev told DW on Monday that there was no official request from Kyiv to Berlin to provide fighter jets from Germany, despite some voices in Kyiv calling for warplanes.
Russia possibly seeking 'new axis of advance' in Donetsk — UK intelligence
Russian forces may be looking to "develop a new axis of advance" into Donetsk to  divert Ukrainian forces from Bakhmut in the east of the country, according to the latest intelligence briefing from the UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The city in the east of the country has been the scene of fierce fighting and the MOD believes Russian forces could make small gains which wouldn't amount to much due to troop numbers.
"There is a realistic possibility that Russia will continue to make local gains in the (Bakhmut) sector," the update stated.
"However, it is unlikely that Russia has sufficient uncommitted troops in the area to achieve an operationally significant breakthrough," the MOD pointed out.
'Russian terror must lose' — Zelenskyy
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed the need for victory as the anniversary of Russia's invasion of his country approaches.
"Russian terror must lose everywhere and in every way: both on the battlefield and in that not a single ruin remains in our country," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy had visited the southern city of Mykolaiv with Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
The leaders paid a visit to wounded Ukrainian soldiers and hospital staff were awarded medals by the Ukrainian president.
Denmark has pledged to help lead efforts to rebuild the city and surrounding area, which was extensively shelled  by Russian forces.

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