The top US official said the US would continue to provide Ukraine with surface-to-air systems to counter Russia’s threats.
The US State Department on Thursday rejected proposals to send MiG fighter jets to Ukraine via a US base, saying Kyiv’s efforts to halt a Russian offensive would be better served by a supply of ground-based weapons.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly urged Washington and NATO to send planes or establish “no-fly zones” over the war-torn western ally to defend against Russian air strikes.
But State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington that Ukraine has found ground-based defense systems more effective in counterattacking Russia’s “formidable” air force.
“We will continue to provide our Ukrainian partners with the surface-to-air systems they need to counter threats from Russian missiles, Russian rockets, artillery,” he said.
Price said Ukraine already has “several squadrons” of its “fully mission capable” aircraft and that the United States could pour gasoline on the conflict by sending more to Ukraine.
“The intelligence community presented an assessment that the provision of aircraft in this way … could be seen by Moscow as escalatory,” he told the news conference.
“It is up to us to do everything we can to save as many lives as we can to end this conflict, and do everything we can to see that this conflict does not spread.”
Warsaw had expressed support for a plan in which Poland would send its Soviet-era MiG-29s to Kyiv via an American air base in Rammstein, Germany, suggesting that the United States send Poland’s fleet. Will backfill with the F-16. fighter jets.
But US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Poland’s Defense Secretary Mariusz Blaszak on Wednesday that Washington has no desire to get involved in the plan.
Russian forces were besieging at least four major cities in Ukraine on Thursday, with armored vehicles rolling to the northeastern edge of the capital Kyiv.
Washington has strongly backed Ukraine, pushing for tighter international sanctions and sending arms and other aid.
The US House of Representatives flagged off a spending package including about $14 billion for Ukraine and allies in Eastern Europe, which is due to be rubber-stamped by the Senate as soon as Thursday.
The United States also this week banned Russian imports of oil and gas, a move Canada took and pledged London to end imports within the year.
But it had refused to impose a no-fly zone out of fear of being directly involved in the conflict.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by UttarPradeshLive.Com staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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