March 9, 2022
As US Vice President Kamala Harris visits, Poland has said it is only ready to supply fighter jets to Ukraine as part of a NATO initiative. Washington had earlier rejected a proposal to pass Polish planes on to Kyiv.
Poland’s prime minister on Wednesday said his country was prepared to make planes available to Ukraine, but that it would only do so through the NATO alliance.
Warsaw had come up with a plan to transfer its Russian-made fighter planes to a US military base to be passed on to Ukraine as the Russian invasion draws close to its third week, but this was dismissed by Washington.
What did Warsaw say?
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said a decision about providing his country’s fighter jets to Ukraine needed to be a joint decision made by NATO members.
“We did not agree to supply planes by ourselves because it must be the decision of the whole of NATO,” he said during a press conference on Polish television.
“The USA does not want these planes to come to Ukraine from American bases,” the adviser, Jakub Kumoch, told public broadcaster TVP Info. “Poland is ready to act, but only within the framework of the alliance, within the framework of NATO.”
Poland’s decision to put the plan on ice comes before US Vice President Kamala Harris arrives for a visit….
What was the Polish proposal?
Poland had outlined a plan to take its 28 MiG-29 fighters, which would be familiar to Ukrainian pilots, to the US Ramstein airbase in Germany.
The expectation was that the aircraft would eventually be handed over to the Ukrainian air force.
The United States would, in return, then have supplied Poland with US-made jets that had the “corresponding capabilities,” such as the F-16s that are already a mainstay of the Polish air force.
While the gift of MiG-29s would be a morale booster for Ukrainians, it would also risk the possibility of the war spreading beyond the country.
Russia has already warned other nations and parties not to get involved in the conflict. The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Poland’s offer of fighter jets was “highly undesirable and a potentially dangerous scenario.”