Despite nuclear saber-rattling by Russian officials, some within the Pentagon want Biden to sign off on sending Ukraine F-16 fighters in a new escalation of the war there following Moscow's invasion nearly a year ago, according to the UK's Daily Mail.
Biden has not signed off on this yet, but the fact that the Pentagon is openly advocating for it means that Biden is coming under increasing internal pressure to ramp up U.S. aid to Kyiv in the face of an almost certain Russian response should the planes be delivered.
The discussion on whether to send F-16s has been ongoing for weeks if not months, the report noted, with the White House taking its time to decide on the best course of action. But to that end, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been lobbying hard for the fourth-generation fighter jets that have a top speed of 1,200 miles per hour.
Deputy national security adviser Jonathan J. Finer said that while there hasn't been a decision made, the possibility that Ukraine could get the aircraft hasn't been officially taken off the table. Also, he said that top Pentagon military leaders are keen on the idea.
"We have not ruled in or out any specific systems," Finer said, according to The Telegraph.
A senior U.S. defense official added: "I don’t think we are opposed."
The Daily Mail added:
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, said on Saturday that Ukrainian officials are focused on 'fast track' discussions about military weapons, such as war planes.
'We must show the real picture of this war... [and how] this will reduce security threats to the European continent,' Podolyak said about western allies, according to the news outlet.
Zelensky is preparing for the US to give in to another one of his requests as experienced pilots have already been identified to fly the fighter jets, Politico reported.
The fighters would give Zelenskyy a huge boost in defense of his country. The F-16 can fly 500 miles, detect low flying aircraft even radar ground clutter, and deliver weapons on target in all weather conditions.
"Ukraine's Air Force has their own fleet of aging Soviet-era fighter jets that came off the assembly line before Kyiv even declared independence more than 31 years ago. The warplanes are used for intercept missions and to attack Russian positions," the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, Dmitri Medvedev, a former Russian prime minister and president who essentially played musical chairs with Vladimir Putin with both offices for years, has issued what many believe is a direct threat of nuclear escalation should “World War III” break out.
Currently serving as Security Council Deputy Chairman, Medvedev ripped Western officials who say their countries are arming Ukraine following Russia’s invasion nearly a year ago in order to prevent it from escalating.
“Firstly, defending Ukraine, which nobody needs in Europe, will not save the senile Old World from retribution if anything occurs. Secondly, once the Third World War breaks out, unfortunately it will not be on tanks or even on fighter jets. Then everything will definitely be turned to dust,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday, according to Russian news agency Tass.
The report added:
In this post, Medvedev commented, in particular, on Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto’s remarks that the Third World War would erupt if Russian tanks reached Kyiv and “the borders of Europe” and that the weapons sent to Ukraine were meant to stop the escalation. Medvedev equated his remarks to the calls from the United Kingdom to provide Kyiv with all the weapons NATO has.