The United States’ swift rejection of a Polish plan to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine is the clearest example yet of the complications the United States and its NATO allies are facing. face trying to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s brutal onslaught while ensuring they don’t get drawn into a larger war.
Negotiations fell apart almost as quickly as they came to fruition.
Poland’s announcement on Tuesday that it was ready to supply MiG fighter jets to Ukraine via a US Air Force base in Germany caught the United States off guard. As of Wednesday morning, U.S. and Polish officials were still discussing the possibility of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine, an administration official told CNN.
But on Wednesday afternoon, the Pentagon outright announced its opposition to the idea, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conveyed in a call to his Polish counterpart.
“Secretary Austin thanked the Minister for Poland’s willingness to continue to seek ways to assist Ukraine, but emphasized that we do not support the transfer of additional fighter jets to the military. Ukrainian air at the moment, and therefore have no desire to see them in our custody either,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a press briefing.
The episode highlights how the United States and its allies can reach the limits of what it can do to help Ukraine – while staying out of the conflict – and points to possible cracks in an alliance that has remained strongly unified at the start of the war. as members enforced harsh penalties and provided security assistance.
It also demonstrates that the Biden administration is still working to be on the same page.
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