Mar 08, 2022
The Biden administration on Tuesday rejected the Polish government's plan to send fighter jets to Ukraine via a U.S. air base in Germany, with a Pentagon spokesperson saying the proposal is not "tenable."
As Ukrainians on Tuesday battled a Russian invasion that has led to a refugee crisis and a mounting civilian death toll, Poland announced a plan to send all of its MiG-29 jets to a U.S. air base in Germany, so the United States can transfer them to Ukraine.
Polish authorities "are ready to deploy--immediately and free of charge--all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the government of the United States of America," according to Poland's statement.
"At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities," the statement continues. "Poland is ready to immediately establish the conditions of purchase of the planes."
The announcement followed skepticism about how Poland or other NATO countries may send Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine without being seen as active participants in the military campaign against Russia. The Polish government urged other alliance members with MiG-29 jets "to act in the same vein."
When asked during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday afternoon if Poland consulted with the United States on the plan, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland responded: "Not to my knowledge and I was in a meeting where I ought to have heard about that just before I came. So I think that actually was a surprise move by the Poles."
\u201c.@SecBlinken: The U.S. has given the \u201cgreen light\u201d to NATO countries if they choose to provide fighter jets to Ukraine, one day after President Zelensky made a plea to members of Congress to provide them during a Saturday Zoom call. https://t.co/liDkdNCAFI\u201d— Face The Nation (@Face The Nation) 1646582062
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in recent days has requested the United States and other NATO nations help him secure Soviet-era jets to improve his defense capabilities. He has also repeatedly asked for the NATO allies to enforce a no-fly zone over his country.
The Biden administration and NATO have declined to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, warning that implementation would invariably escalate the conflict with nuclear-armed Russia into an all-out war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled threats about using nuclear weapons if other countries intervene in Ukraine and said over the weekend that Western economic sanctions "are akin to declaring war."
Since Putin announced the invasion on February 24, Russian forces have been accused of a growing list of war crimes. As of Tuesday, more than two million Ukrainians have fled the country and at least hundreds of civilians have been killed.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired Monday night, Zelenskyy said that "we have the possible resolution" for Moscow's main demands--including Ukraine's exclusion from NATO--but that Putin needs to "start the dialogue" to end the war.
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