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US ready to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This image shows an F-16 fighter during a US Air Force firepower demonstration at the Nevada Test and Training Range. (File photo)

US military aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin has said that it is ready to supply new demands for F-16 fighter planes to help Ukrainian forces fight against Russia.

RT cited an interview in the Financial Times in which the airplane manufacturer's chief operating officer, Frank St. John, said there is “a lot of conversation about the third-party transfer of F-16s”, meaning that some of the countries which have these planes wish to send them to the Ukrainian forces to use them to fight against the Russians.

He said Lockheed Martin was not involved in any direct negotiations regarding potential deliveries of military aircraft to Ukraine. Nevertheless, St. John stated his company planned to ramp up production of the jet fighters to get to the point where it will be able to “backfill pretty capably any countries that choose to do third-party transfers to help with the current conflict.”

St. John’s statements come after the US government recently said it would be sending its advanced Abrams tanks to Ukraine, despite Washington's earlier refusals to send the combat tanks.

The US move to send combat tanks to Ukraine prompted the other European NATO allies who have Abrams tanks in their arsenals to send tanks.

The move has reignited talks about transferring other weapons to meet Kiev's unending demands for more missiles and military aircraft.

So far, the US has refused to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, fearing that Kiev might use the aircraft to strike targets inside Russia.

Also, according to the US-made weapons sales contracts, the transfer or resale of fighter jets to a third country must be approved by the US government.

A US defense official told FT that Washington remains in contact with its international allies and partners regarding the needs of Ukraine but noted that there is “nothing to announce regarding F-16s.”

Meanwhile, the Netherlands has expressed its willingness to transfer its 40 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

We have “no taboos” in regard to extending military support to Ukraine and look at the Ukraine war with “an open mind” and as an opportunity for making improvements.

Russia has repeatedly warned the western countries supporting Ukraine that flooding the country with weapons would only prolong the war and add to the number of causalities.

Russia started its "special military operation" in Ukraine with the declared aim of "de-Nazifying" the country on February 24, 2022. 

Since then, the US and Europe have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and have given Ukraine tens of billions of dollars' worth of weaponry, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles and communications systems.

Moscow has asserted that US-led efforts against Russia will not stop it from achieving its declared objectives in the pro-Russian areas of Ukraine.

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