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Top NATO General in Europe supports sending F-16 fighter jets and ATACMS to Ukraine

Sunday, 19 February 2023, 07:40

General Christopher Cavoli, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, supports sending the most modern Western weapons, including F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles, to Ukraine in order to bring its victory in the war against Russia closer. 

Source: Cavoli during a closed briefing for US officials on Friday, 17 February, cited by Politico, referring to five sources present

Details: In a Friday morning closed-door briefing with more than 10 senators and House members, General Christopher Cavoli was asked if F-16 fighter jets would help Ukraine win the war against Russia. He responded: "Yes". 


The F-16 question was part of a larger discussion over the conduct of the war and what Kyiv needs to succeed in its plans to go on the offensive and blunt Russian offensives across hundreds of kilometres of front lines.

Cavoli said that the US and its allies should send the most advanced weapons they can part with to Ukraine. That included advanced aircraft, drones and missiles with ranges over 62 miles (100 kilometres), such as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). 

The general also argued that Ukraine needs more advanced weapons and equipment to "enhance the deep fight," per one of five sources there. A second person said Cavoli believes the West should equip Ukraine to "reach further" into Russian positions within Ukraine’s border.

The general’s words go further than previous public comments by top national security officials, who have said they haven’t ruled out sending fighter jets in the future, but also noted that air defences are the most urgent current need.

Background: US President Joe Biden said at the end of January 2023 that the USA was not planning to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The White House elaborated on that later, stating that the US was already providing Ukraine with significant military support and focusing on Kyiv’s needs and the situation on the battlefield. 


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