US studying how to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine

The Biden administration is discussing how to supply Soviet-era Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, US officials say, after the president Vo...


The Biden administration is discussing how to supply Soviet-era Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, US officials say, after the president Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday made an impassioned plea to U.S. lawmakers to help secure more deadly military aid, particularly Russian-made jets that Ukrainian pilots know how to fly.

The White House said an agreement with Poland was being discussed to replace Polish planes with American F-16s, but Polish officials seemed less enthusiastic. After President Andrzej Duda said last week that Poland would not provide planes, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s office wrote on Twitter Sunday: “Poland will not send its fighter jets to #Ukraine nor will it allow the use of its airports. We help significantly in many areas.

A jet supply deal would require congressional approval and is being discussed with other NATO nations. But such a supply would be a sovereign decision of the country concerned, and not a NATO decision, because NATO wants to avoid any direct conflict with the Russian army in Ukraine or in its airspace.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, visiting Moldova, said the United States was exploring the idea of ​​supplying jets to Poland if Warsaw chose to send its own to Ukraine.

“We are now actively looking at the issue of planes that Poland could supply to Ukraine and we are looking at how we might be able to fill in, if Poland decides to supply these planes,” Blinken said. “I can’t speak to a schedule, but I can just say we’re looking at it very, very actively.”

There are many practical issues, including how to supply replacement aircraft to Poland and how to get Polish aircraft to Ukraine. The next batch of F-16s for export is expected to be sent to Taiwan, US officials have said, and they are reluctant to delay them.

Mr. Zelensky has regularly asked NATO to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian planes from bombing, but NATO has been adamant that it will not confront the Russian military in or over Ukraine.

Weapons to shoot down Russian planes, such as Stinger surface-to-air missiles, are sent to Ukraine in large numbers through its western borders, but it is unclear how easily they are distributed to Ukrainian troops elsewhere in the country.

The European Union had explored the idea of ​​supplying Soviet jets to Ukraine, and its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, had even promised them. But the idea was abandoned. Among EU countries, only Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria still use Soviet-era jets.

Bulgaria and Slovakia said last week there was no agreement to send fighter jets, and Mr Duda, appearing at a Polish airbase on Tuesday alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We are not sending any jets to Ukraine because that would open up military interference in the Ukrainian conflict.”

“We are not joining this conflict,” Mr Duda said. “NATO is not a party to this conflict. However, as I said, we support the Ukrainians with humanitarian aid. However, we will not send any jet planes into Ukrainian airspace.

On Sunday, Russia did not comment directly on the possibility of the West supplying fighter jets to Ukraine, but it did threaten countries that allow the Ukrainian military to use their airfields.

Any use of other countries’ airfields “for the base of Ukrainian military aviation which is then used against the Russian armed forces can be considered as the involvement of these countries in the armed conflict”, the Russian Ministry of Security said. Defense.



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Newsrust - US Top News: US studying how to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine
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