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Biden to talk over weapons request with Zelensky

WASHINGTON: President Biden will be discussing Ukraine’s latest requests for advanced weaponry to defend itself against Russia with Ukraine President Zelensky.

“We’re going to talk,” Biden told reporters, speaking the morning after he answered with an emphatic “no” when asked at the White House whether he favored sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The United States is by far the biggest supplier of weapons to Ukraine, where the Russian invasion is now approaching the one-year mark. A coalition of other Western countries is also sending arms, ranging from rifles to armored vehicles and artillery.

Earlier, Australia partnered with France in supplying Ukraine with artillery shells. The multimillion-dollar plan is the latest offer of support for Ukraine by both countries, amid growing appeals from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukraine looks for heavy weaponry and long-term supplies from Western allies nearly a year into Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The continuing Escalation

While Kyiv “demands more and more weapons”, the Kremlin warned the West’s supplying of further weapons to Ukraine only leading to “significant escalation” of the conflict. 

However, with Russia showing no sign of letting up in its pulverizing of neighbor Ukraine, Zelensky has been issuing calls for ever more powerful and sophisticated weapons. Most recently, the United States and Germany agreed to send advanced tanks, following the earlier lead of Britain.

With NATO countries ‘more and more becoming directly involved in the conflict’, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Andriy Melnyk, calling on Germany to send his country a submarine.

Apart from the latest of the announcement, Zelenskiy’s most senior adviser, Andriy Yermak, has suggested Poland is willing to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters. Though Yermak cites positive signals from Warsaw, Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, was careful.

He stressed that his country would only act in consultation with Nato allies, as Ukraine’s lobbying for the combat jets only a few days after Germany and the US agreed to send over their tanks.

Zahra Sikandar
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