OAN’s Daniel Baldwin
12:17 PM – Saturday, May 20, 2023
In March 2022, President Joe Biden explained that sending offensive equipment along with American troops to Ukraine could spark World War III.
“The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews, just understand, that’s called World War III, okay,” Biden said.
That warning is inching closer and closer to reality.
Biden’s decision to support an allied effort to train Ukrainian pilots on how to operate F-16 fighter jets signals the latest walk back regarding the 46th president’s foreign policy.
At the onset of the Ukrainian war in February 2022, Biden resisted calls to send long-range missiles, tanks, and fighter jets to Ukraine. Now he is set to renege on each of these.
“Will the United States provide F-16s to Ukraine,” a reporter asked Biden in January 2023.
“No,” Biden responded, seemingly closing the issue.
But his decision to help train Ukrainian pilots could open the door to sending fourth generation aircrafts to Ukraine. A pair of Ukrainian pilots started training on flight simulators in Arizona in March. This was to determine how much time it would take for them to become proficient in operating U.S. aircraft such as F-16s.
“We’ve reached a moment where it is time to look down the road and to say what is Ukraine going to need as part of a future force to be able to deter and defend against Russian aggression as we go forward,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained during a press conference in Hiroshima. “F-16’s fourth generation fighter aircraft are part of that mix.”
Sullivan went on to say the U.S. and its allies would deliberate at the G7 Summit on how best to supply Kyiv with the jets themselves.
“The obvious first step there is to do the training and then to work with allies and partners and the Ukrainians to determine how to do the actual provision of planes,” Sullivan explained.
Numerous members of NATO have urged for an international effort to arm Ukraine with these fighter jets. But any transfer would have to be approved by the U.S., as the jets were made in America and contain sensitive U.S. technology.
If the Biden Administration works to facilitate arming Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, which it appears ready to do, it would mark the latest escalatory walk back on previous promises made about the war. Biden told ABC News in February 2023 he was ruling out sending F-16 jets to Ukraine “for now.”
“You don’t think he needs F-16s now?” the anchor asked.
“No, he doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden answered.
Biden has also initially resisted sending both long range Patriot missiles and Abrams tanks to Ukraine. However, the 46th president buckled under the pressure from Ukraine and Europe on both stances.
Biden agreed to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine at the end of January 2023. Biden explained the move was recommended by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. But there was hesitancy to do so for months from the Biden camp, as they questioned whether the tanks were the right tools for the Ukrainian troops. They cited complex training and maintenance requirements.
Former President Donald Trump has consistently struck a much different tone to that of the Biden Administration. Trump has been resolute that he would negotiate a peace deal within 24 hours.
“I want everybody to stop dying,” Trump said during a CNN town hall. “They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying.”
Biden’s decision to inch closer to sending F-16 fighter jets is a far cry from the administration that opposed the Polish transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine in March 2022, calling it a “high risk” step that would escalate tensions with Russia.
Given his track record of Ukraine walk backs, the idea of sending American crews may not seem so crazy anymore.