The Pentagon says that the Polish proposal to hand over all its MIG-29 fighter jets to the Americans, to then be donated to Ukraine, “is not sustainable”.
“We will continue to consult with Poland and our NATO allies on this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is viable,” spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
Washington’s reaction comes after Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau revealed that his government was “prepared to deploy, immediately and free of charge, all MIG-29 fighter jets to Ramstein air base [in Germany] and make them available to the United States Government”.
John Kirby explained that such an operation, to militarily help Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, raises “important reasons for concern for the whole of NATO”.
“The prospect of fighter jets at the disposal of the United States Government, departing from a US/NATO base in Germany, to fly in the airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine, raises serious concerns for the entire Alliance”, defended the defense. Pentagon spokesperson.
According to the Polish government, this decision would finalize an agreement that allowed Ukraine to use MIG-29s against Russian forces, as Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly Soviet-era fighter jets. In return, Warsaw would receive US F-16 fighter jets to compensate for this loss.
Poland also urged the other NATO member states that own the MIG-29 – a reference to Slovakia and Bulgaria – to follow suit.
The Executive of Mateusz Morawiecki also specified that this decision was taken “following a declaration by the US Secretary of State on the delivery of planes to Ukraine. Poland has about 30 MIG-29s built by the Soviets, but, according to the media, only 23 are technically operational to be sent to Ramstein.
In the statement, John Kirby assured that Washington and Warsaw are in contact, but stressed that the “decision to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is, ultimately, the Polish Government’s”.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Moldova that the Americans were “actively working” on an agreement with Poland to send those planes to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki explained on Monday that Poland had no plans to send fighter jets or military pilots to Ukraine outside the scope of NATO, nor to make its airports available.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said the Polish announcement had taken Washington by surprise.
According to the Polish press, the Russian Ministry of Defense considers that “countries that use their airports to provide Ukraine with fighter jets can be considered participants in the conflict”.