Damage to Ukraine missile seems minimal
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Leaders from the United Kingdom and Germany on Wednesday said the U.S. needs to make a decision on warplanes for Ukraine as the war with Russia drags on.
When pressed by reporters on why top NATO allies have not sent Ukraine F-16s, instead opting to allow allies like Poland to send Soviet era-MiG-29 fighter jets, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said ultimately the decision is “up to the White House.”
Standing alongside his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, Pistorius said that the highly coveted F-16s that Kyiv has long asked for are U.S.-made and therefore Washington has “to decide whether the F-16 fighter planes can be delivered,” reported German news outlet DW.
Boris Pistorius, German Minister of Defense, right, and his British counterpart Ben Wallace, make a statement after their meeting at the German Ministry of Defense, in Berlin, Wednesday May 17, 2023. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
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“We cannot play an active role in such an alliance, in such a coalition, because we have neither the training capacities, the competencies, or the planes,” he added.
The comments came just one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and addressed the item at the top of Kyiv’s wish list — aerial combat support.
Sunak, along with Dutch leader Mark Rutte, are organizing a “fighter jet coalition” by to help Kyiv procure F-16s.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (R) at the Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence in Aylesbury, United Kingdom on May 15, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Though London has said it will not send warplanes to Ukraine’s front lines, it has committed to training Ukrainians up on the more advanced aerial equipment.
“It’s up to the White House to decide if it wants to release that technology,” Wallace told reporters Wednesday, noting that the U.K. does not have F-16s and was not considering sending planes from its Typhoon fleet, reported DW. “We don’t have F-16 pilots, but we can help the pipeline.”
“What’s really important here is to signal to Russia that we as nations have no philosophical principle objection to supplying Ukraine capabilities that it needs depending on what is going on, on the battlefield,” he added.
A F 16 fighter jet takes part in the NATO Air Shielding exercise near the air base in Lask, central Poland on October 12, 2022. (RADOSLAW JOZWIAK/AFP via Getty Images)
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The U.S. has said it does not plan to send Ukraine F-16s, though it has previously capitulated on sending certain wartime capabilities, like tanks.
The German defense minister’s comments Wednesday were reminiscent of a stance Berlin took in January when it said it would not agree to send tanks to Kyiv unless the U.S. did as well, citing concerns over escalating the war.
The U.S. eventually agreed to send its Abrams M1 tanks in a move to push Germany to send its sorely needed Leopard 2 tanks, despite previously cited concerns over maintenance and cost upkeep on the advanced U.S. made tanks.
Caitlin McFall is a Reporter at Fox News Digital covering Politics, U.S. and World news.