Washington: Polish offer to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine via a US airbase, has been rejected by the US citing that the proposal raised “serious concerns” for the entire NATO alliance.
The US officials were caught off guard with the offer to deliver the Soviet-era planes to the US base in Ramstein, Germany.
As per the proposed scheme, those jets would then be deployed to Ukraine, while as replacements for those jets the Polish air force would receive F-16 fighters.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, “We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” Kirby said in a statement.
“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it,” he added.
Kirby also pointed out that the stance of Washington was that “the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government.”
Ukraine has appealed to its Western allies to supply military jets, amid the Russian Invasion, but providing warplanes to Kyiv is a serious risk – with NATO members unwilling to be deemed co-combatants by Moscow.
Ukraine’s air force has a fleet consists of aging Soviet-era MiG-29 and Sukhoi-27 jets, and heavier Sukhoi-25 jets. These are the only planes the Ukrainian Pilots could fly immediately without any training.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Moldova on Sunday that Washington was “actively” looking at a deal with Poland to provide Ukraine with the MiG-29s.
But after Poland announced its offer, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told the US Lawmakers that Washington has been caught off guard.
On being questioned by a senator whether US officials coordinated ahead of time with Warsaw, Nuland said: “Not to my knowledge.”
While several lawmakers insisted on immediate supply of Jets to Ukraine, the Nuland refused to commit Washington to support or facilitating the exchange.
“I will continue to convey the very strong bipartisan view of this committee that these planes need to get to Ukraine,” she told the panel.
“There are a number of factors to consider here and there are some mixed views among allies and even within the administration.”
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