US working with Poland on deal to send fighter jets to Ukraine

US working with Poland on deal to send fighter jets to Ukraine

The war for control Ukraine It will be launched in the air, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told US lawmakers on Saturday, so he called on them to give it planes to keep Russia at bay. The United States urges Poland and other Eastern European countries to give Russia-made fighter planes to Ukraine and is working on a plan to refill abandoned aircraft with USF-16s.

A feature of Russian aircraft is that Ukrainian pilots are already trained to fly them.

The other reason is that these aircraft can be deployed more quickly. One US official said the administration told Poland it should have Russian-made MiGs in its arsenal because the planes would not require US permission to move them. Conversely, any effort to send newly manufactured aircraft to Ukraine could be hampered by several years of paperwork with defense contractors. Furthermore, the transfer of US-made F-16 fighter jets from NATO allies would require congressional notification. Because Ukrainian pilots are not trained on American planes, fighter jets would not be useful to them immediately, even if they could get them sooner.

Poland has 21 single-seat MiG-29s and 6 two-seat MiG-29s, according to Guinness Worldwide Air Force.

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In this Saturday, August 11, 2012 file photo, a Russian MIG-29 takes flight during a celebration marking the centenary of the founding of the Russian Air Force in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia.

AP Photo / Misha Jabaridze


Although FM Anthony Blinken He says the US will give the green light to move planes to Ukraine and is already talking with Poland about refilling its stockpile of planes, Poland has not yet decided to go ahead with the transfers. at tweet Over the weekend, the Polish Prime Minister’s Chancellery called a story that Poland would give Ukraine MiG-29s in exchange for US-made F-16s was “fake news”.

And whether Poland will hand over its entire stockpile of these planes – or even whether they are all in working condition – also remains to be seen.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that while the United States is working with Poland and other NATO allies on the issue, “this is Poland’s sovereign decision.”

She noted the logistical challenges of physically moving aircraft from Poland to Ukraine. “Are they traveling? Where are they leaving? Where are they landing? These are all very important questions here,” Psaki said during the daily White House press briefing.

Psaki also said there is the complex logistics of backfilling planes for European allies sending planes to Ukraine, “because buying new planes and moving dangerous weapons systems often takes years from the United States.”

Mark Kansian, a retired naval colonel and senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Poland’s source of hesitation with CBS News.

“This is not a logistical issue. This is a political issue. It is a political issue in the sense that if you have a Polish plane and you put a Ukrainian pilot there, and then that pilot flies the plane to Ukraine to fight the Russians, the Russians could reasonably argue that Poland is now a party to the fighting, since launching planes from its territory to Ukraine.” “So the Poles are very concerned about that and want to be very careful that this doesn’t make them vulnerable to Russian countermeasures.”

Ultimately, Kansian believes Poland will agree to a deal “for two reasons. One is that there is a great desire to help the Ukrainians. The second thing is, if Poland can get rid of the old Soviet planes and get new American F-16s, that’s a good deal.” …they want to do it. Between these two, I think they’re going to figure something out.”

Cancian pointed out that one of the criticisms leveled against this plan is that these planes are at risk. “They might not end up making as much of a difference as we hope. If we fly them into Ukraine and the Russians take them out the next day with long-range missiles, what have we accomplished?” But he noted, “At this point, there’s also a symbolic element to it. There is a real ability there, but there is also a symbolic element.”

After Zelensky spoke with Congress, Senators Rob Portman and Jane Shaheen sent a Message To President Biden urging him to send US-made planes to European allies who supply Soviet-era planes to Ukraine. They identified Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia as countries in discussions with the United States about transferring part of their stockpile to the Ukrainian Air Force.

The Biden administration has requested that $10 billion in additional support for Ukraine be included in a broad government funding package expected to pass in Congress this week.

In a letter Monday to lawmakers obtained by CBS News, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova outlined Ukraine’s requests for legislation, which included taking appropriate steps to provide Ukraine with aircraft and defense systems.

A US official said Monday that the airspace over Ukraine remains disputed, and the Pentagon estimates that the Ukrainians still own the majority of their fixed-wing aircraft.

The Ukrainians stopped the Russians in their advance on the major population centers, but as the days passed, the Russians bombed targets with no regard for civilian infrastructure.

Margaret Brennan, Josh Gross, and Natalie Brand contributed to this report.