Mar 08, 2022
The Pentagon on Tuesday rejected the Polish government's proposal to send its MiG-29 jets to a U.S. air base in Germany so the United States could transfer the aircraft to Ukrainian forces battling Russian invaders.
Poland's plan had followed skepticism about how members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could deliver Soviet-era planes to Ukraine without being seen as engaging in the military campaign against Russia.
"We are now in contact with the Polish government following the statement issued today," Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby confirmed late Tuesday. "As we have said, the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government."
Quoting from the Polish statement, Kirby said that "the prospect of fighter jets 'at the disposal of the government of the United States of America' departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance."
"It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it," he added. "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."
Stephen Miles, president of the U.S.-based advocacy group Win Without War, responded to the Pentagon's position by praising the "level-headed leadership" of the Biden administration "in an unbelievably complex crisis."
\u201cCan we all pause for just a moment to appreciate the level headed leadership this Admin is showing in an unbelievably complex crisis. By way of comparison, the last guy once wanted to nuke a hurricane and just proposed painting our jets to look like China's & bombing Russia.\u201d— Stephen Miles (@Stephen Miles) 1646780976
The Washington Postnoted that "Poland's decision to publicly float its plan came the day before Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to depart for Warsaw for talks with Polish officials. The disconnect is likely to cast an awkward layer to the talks, which were expected to focus largely on U.S. efforts to help Poland and other eastern European nations that have taken in some two million refugees since the war started less than two weeks ago."
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