US Rejected Poland's Offer To Puts All Of Its MiG-29 Jets At US Disposal
POLAND - The U.S. has rejected Poland's offer to put all of its MiG-29 fighter jets at the disposal of the United States, which according to a U.S. diplomat was a 'surprise move' after Ukraine requested aircraft from countries in Eastern Europe to aid in their fight against Russia.
The United States rejected the offer on Tuesday, citing "serious concerns" for the entire NATO alliance, with Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby saying that the jets placed at the disposal of the United States, flying from a US-NATO base "into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance".
"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. It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it" he stated.
Kirby also said that "the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government".
The U.S. State Department Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing, "To my knowledge, it wasn't pre-consulted with us that they planned to give these planes to us. So I think that actually was a surprise move by the Poles".
The Polish Foreign Ministry stated that it's ready to deploy all of its MiG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States. It has urged other NATO members that own the same type of aircraft also to put theirs at the disposal of the U.S.
During a video call on Saturday with lawmakers from the United States last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a "desperate plea for European countries to provide Russian-made planes" to use to fight against Russia with.
Nuland said "Poland -- they benefit from full air security from the NATO alliance. ... The main issue is to evaluate what Poland's immediate needs are in the context of being a neighbor of this conflict".
She also said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is planning to set up Patriot missile batteries in Poland.
Although Poland stated that it was putting its jets at U.S. disposal, it said that it would not be sending jets to Ukraine due to the fact that it is not a direct party to the conflict between Ukraine (which is not currently a member of NATO) and Russia.