US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has told Polish Defense Minister that the United States will not support the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian Air Force “at this time”. Ukraine replenishes Polish fleet with US or transfers MiG-29s to Ukraine via Poland.
Austin “We do not support the transfer of additional fighter jets to the Ukrainian Air Force at this time, so we do not want to see them in our custody,” Kirby said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky has been asking Western nations for MiG-29 fighter jets used during the Cold War, and Ukrainian pilots have been trained to maintain control of the skies in his country as they come under Russian attack.
Zhelensky’s request for help in establishing a no – fly zone over Ukraine was rejected by the United States and its allies, who see it as a direct confrontation with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that countries that impose a no-fly zone will be considered “participants in the military conflict.”
Over the weekend, the United States announced that Poland was in talks with Poland over a possible deal to supply the requested MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, and then the United States would supply US F-16s to Poland.
The U.S. Department of Defense rejected the proposal, saying it was “not vulnerable” and considered it too dangerous.
“The possibility of US government-owned warplanes flying over US / NATO bases in Germany to compete with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance.” Kirby said in a statement Tuesday.
U.S. officials have twice described the problem to CNN: a logistics problem in transporting jets to Ukraine and a political problem in avoiding escalation with Russia. U.S. officials described the Polish plan as failing to adequately handle both.
NATO ambassadors told CNN that the supply of warplanes to Ukraine by NATO members – albeit bilaterally – could be perceived by Russia as an alliance directly involved in the war.
Polish officials told CNN that NATO member and Ukrainian neighbor Poland was concerned about the dangers of sharing warplanes with Ukraine because they did not want to become a party to the conflict and escalate the situation on their border. .
Polish Ambassador to the United States Marek Makhrovsky said on Wednesday evening that Poland was “acutely aware” of the consequences of its proposal.
“We were under a lot of pressure from our allies, and there was public opinion here in the United States.
“That is why we have come up with a logical, conscientious solution. Our US partners have rejected this proposal because they have come to the conclusion that it is very serious. Well, we understand this and I hope that our cooperation with the Ukrainians will continue to be as effective as possible.” Efforts with our US partners and other NATO members to assist. “
If Section 5 is implemented, the United States and other NATO members will be obliged to provide evidence to protect a fellow NATO member and be able to involve themselves directly in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Ahead of Kirby’s statement on Wednesday afternoon that the Pentagon strongly opposes Poland’s proposal, senior executives told CNN that the United States was continuing to consult with Poland and other NATO allies on the possibility of providing fighter jets to Ukraine.
U.S. and Polish officials have held a “count of conversations” since the White House capture by Warsaw report, a U.S. executive told CNN that relations between the two countries remain strong despite differences.
U.S. officials told CNN that the episode was blocking some kind of agreement that would allow jets to fly to Ukraine.
As of now, there are no immediate obvious solutions for the United States to supply jets to Ukraine since rejecting Poland’s offer.
“I think Poland’s proposal shows that there are some problems in providing security. We need to make sure we do it right,” said Anthony, the secretary of state. Blinken told reporters Wednesday at State Department headquarters.
The United States has made it clear that sending jets to Ukraine is a “sovereign decision” for Poland, but is ready to help sort out the challenges.
In addition to the political quagmire, there are logical challenges in sending warplanes to Ukraine for further operation by the US and NATO allies.
“Secretary of State Austin, President Millie and members of our defense establishment have been in contact with Ukrainian colleagues and NATO colleagues who have clearly discussed what the logistics challenges are,” White House spokesman Zaki said on Wednesday.
Psaki cited some of the logistical and operational challenges: transporting aircraft into Ukraine without landing, disassembling aircraft and reassembling aircraft, and ensuring safe operation of aircraft in the midst of war.
He later called it a “serious logistical impediment” and said discussions were ongoing on the matter.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith told CNN’s Christian Amanbor on Monday that open questions include how the plane will actually be transferred from Poland to Ukraine and the number of Ukrainian pilots.
It was initially an idea that Ukrainians would go to Poland and rescue warplanes and fly them into dangerous Ukrainian airspace, which US officials say is still competing.
It appeared that some countries were willing to consider this move as Poland came forward to send their MiG-19 aircraft. As of Wednesday, US officials have not ruled out talks with the three European countries because they are looking for a way to bring fighter jets to Ukraine.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Oren Liebermann, Barbara Starr, Kylie Atwood, Ellie Kaufman, Kevin Liptak, Jeremy Diamond, Jennifer Hansler, Betsy Klein and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.
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