Not discussed with Washington
USA: Poland’s fighter jet decision “untenable”
Poland plans to hand over all of the country’s MIG-29 fighter jets to the United States. This has apparently not been agreed with Washington, because the United States speaks of a “surprising step” that is “untenable”. After all, is the USA allowed to accept the machines at all?
The US Department of Defense has rejected the idea of providing Ukraine with Polish MiG-29 fighter jets from a US military base in Germany. The US has expressed surprise at Poland’s willingness to make all of the country’s MIG-29 fighter jets available to the US. This had not been agreed with the United States in advance, said Secretary of State at the US State Department, Victoria Nuland, in Washington. “That’s why I think it was actually a surprising move by Poland.”
The Pentagon then declared that Poland’s solution was “unsustainable”. Poland’s proposal “raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. “It’s just not clear to us that there is a substantive justification for this.”
Shortly before, the Warsaw Foreign Ministry had agreed to transfer its fleet of Soviet-designed fighter jets to the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and make them available to the US. US government and military officials expressed doubts as to whether the US would be allowed to accept the machines at all.
“Polish authorities … are ready to immediately and free of charge transfer all MIG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Force Base and make them available to the US government,” the Warsaw Foreign Ministry said. It asked other NATO countries that own aircraft of the same type to do the same. At the same time, the Warsaw government is asking the US to offer Poland used aircraft with similar characteristics. Poland is immediately ready to talk about the purchase conditions.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had previously stressed that any decision to give Ukraine offensive weapons would have to be taken unanimously by the entire NATO. That is why Poland is ready to transfer its machines to Ramstein. “But we are not prepared to take any steps alone,” says Morawiecki. Poland is not part of the war in Ukraine. Ukraine is not a NATO member.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned against interference by other states in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a “desperate request” for planes during a phone call with US senators on Saturday, according to American sources. As the majority leader of the Democrats in the Congress Chamber, Chuck Schumer, explained in Washington, Zelenskyj wanted Russian-made machines from Eastern European countries. “These planes are needed very badly.” He will do everything to facilitate their transfer, Schumer said.
Accordingly, US lawmakers have put pressure on President Joe Biden’s government to facilitate the transfer of planes from Poland and other NATO countries. The US government had discussed Ukraine’s request and the associated logistical problems. With Poland’s latest decision, experts in the US government are also faced with a number of legal questions.
Representatives of the US Department of Defense and the Air Force said the impact of the Polish project would still be determined. The National Security Council could best decide whether the United States should even accept the jets as a kind of donation. Experts said permissions for the Polish planes to land at the Ramstein airbase in Germany and practical issues of a possible transfer to Ukraine are other unresolved legal issues. The National Security Council was initially unable to get a statement.