Talks between Warsaw and Washington are still ongoing, although the approval of new replacement fighter jets to Poland could take a long time.
“We are working with Poland on this matter and consulting with the rest of our NATO allies,” a White House spokesman told POLITICO. “We are also working on the capabilities we could provide to replenish Poland if it decides to move planes to Ukraine.”
Several Eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia retain dozens of Russian-made planes in their inventories and have been reluctant to give up those planes without guarantees from the US that they could replace them.
Poland has been modernizing its aircraft fleet since 2006, when it first flew F-16s, and in 2020 signed a $4.6 billion contract for 32 F-35s, the first of which will arrive in 2024, making these older Russian-made aircraft obsolete will .
The issue of sending planes into battle is more complex than the efforts of over two dozen European countries to send anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine. A steady stream of US and British military planes have landed in Poland in recent days filled with these missiles, along with other ammunition, rations and small arms and ammunition.
In recent weeks, the US has deployed 12,000 troops to Europe to stop nervous allies along NATO’s eastern front, most of whom have gone to Poland to join the 4,000 US troops already stationed there. The troops are conducting training missions with the Polish military and could be called upon to assist in a humanitarian emergency if the tide of war refugees overwhelms the Polish and EU authorities.
The White House “has not in any way opposed Poland moving planes to Ukraine,” the spokesman added, noting how difficult it would be to get the planes to Ukraine. Russian officials have promised to attack any convoy with weapons entering the country.
The issue of transferring American F-16s to Poland is complex given the sensitive avionics on American aircraft, which may not always be legal to transfer overseas.
Following Zelenskyy’s impassioned Zoom call with senators on Saturday, during which he urged the US to send planes, drones and Stinger missiles to Ukraine and impose oil sanctions on Russia, Sens said. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) sent a letter to President Joe Biden their full support for padding Poland with F-16s if they handed over their Russian planes and said they would work to ensure there are funds to fund the transfer.
The recurring effort to get MiGs into Ukraine began last weekend when European Union security chief Josep Borrell made the surprise announcement that several countries would soon be sending fighter jets to the border for handover to Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian officials told POLITICO at the time that several of their pilots had already arrived in Poland for the handover, but the deal had stalled. Bulgaria and Slovakia also rejected the idea, and the Ukrainian pilots got nothing.
The US has already delivered $240 million of the $350 million in military aid recently approved by Biden, with the rest expected to arrive in the coming days.
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/05/white-house-deal-fighter-jets-ukraine-00014424?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication The White House is considering a three-way deal to bring fighter jets to Ukraine