President Biden said the United States will not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, rejecting renewed calls by Kyiv officials for these advanced weapons to turn the tide of the conflict and boost Ukraine’s command of its airspace. Buoyed by long-sought commitments last week from the United States and Germany to send tanks, a Ukrainian official described fighter jets as Kyiv’s “next big hurdle.” But other allies also voiced reluctance to send them.
British intelligence officials warned that Moscow is probably preparing to open up a fresh offensive front in Ukraine’s east, with small-scale gains a realistic possibility. “Russian commanders are likely aiming to develop a new axis of advance into Ukrainian-held Donetsk Oblast,” British officials said in an update. The escalation would also serve to divert Ukrainian forces from defending the heavily contested Bakhmut area, the Defense Ministry update added.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
Ukraine intel chief predicted Russia’s war. He says Crimea will be retaken: Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence boss, was one of the only top Ukrainian officials who correctly warned that Russia would invade the country. He was brushed off early last year, but now that his forecast has tragically come to light, his insights carry great weight with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials.
In an interview with Ukraine bureau chief Isabelle Khurshudyan, Budanov predicted that annexed Crimea would be returned to Ukraine and that Russia would not use nuclear weapons to fight for the land. “It all started in Crimea in 2014, and it will all end there,” he said.
Meryl Kornfield and John Hudson contributed to this report.