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CNN reported on June 25, discussion within the Biden Administration about allowing American contractors to go to Ukraine. The policy is still a work in progress by administration officials and has not received final sign-off yet from President Joe Biden, four unnamed officials told the network. “We have not made any decisions, and any discussion of this is premature,” said one administration official. “The President is absolutely firm that he will not be sending U.S. troops to Ukraine.”

So far, the administration has allowed the provision of technical support to the Ukrainian military remotely, but administration officials began to seriously reconsider those restrictions over the last several months, officials said, as Russia continued to make gains on the battlefield and U.S. funding for Ukraine stalled in Congress. Allowing experienced, government-funded American contractors to maintain a presence in Ukraine means they will be able to help fix damaged, high-value equipment much faster, officials told CNN.

While many of the weapons systems that the U.S. and its NATO allies have provided require a degree of contractor support, the biggest concern now is the fleet of F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine, delivery of which is expected to begin sometime this summer. It is highly unlikely that the Ukrainian air force will be able to operate and maintain those aircraft without extensive contractor support.