The Pentagon on Tuesday said Poland’s offer to transfer all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to a US base in Germany from where they could be sent to Ukraine is not “tenable.”
Poland made the offer after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Warsaw had the “green light” to send the MiG-29s to Ukraine. By offering to send the planes to Germany, Poland signaled that it does not want to use its territory to transfer the planes to Ukraine over concerns of provoking Russia.
In a statement on the Polish offer, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said sending warplanes from Germany into Ukraine could be too risky. “The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a US/NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” he said.
“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it. We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” Kirby added.
Kirby’s statement makes it clear that the US understands sending warplanes into Ukraine could be viewed as the US directly entering the conflict, which raises questions about why Blinken suggested Poland could do it. As a NATO ally, if Polish warplanes or airbases are attacked by Russia, it could trigger the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense clause.