Ukraine To Get Fighter Jets From Poland Via The US

Ukraine To Get Fighter Jets From Poland Via The US

Ukraine To Get Fighter Jets From Poland Via The US

If this sounds like a convoluted trade agreement in order to pass responsibility, you are right.

However, the end result is a good one for Ukraine and will likely cause more headaches for Russia. Not only have the Russians lost a couple of generals in their invasion, now they are going to have to contend with Ukrainian pilots getting new-to-them fighter jets out of Poland. Except, in order for Poland to not be caught holding the bag (and getting the blame from Russia), they are nominally giving all their MIG-29 fighter jets – which the Ukrainian pilots know how to fly – to the United States, and parking them at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. At which point, Poland will be able to buy some new-to-them F-16s from the United States (presumably for a highly discounted rate, wink wink) and oh look, they now have room at their air force bases to park them because they got rid of all the MIG-29s! Everyone got that? Everyone understand that Poland is not in any way, shape, or form just giving Ukraine the jets? Yup, they’re giving them to the United States and parking the jets in Germany, NOT UKRAINE, and then if the United States decides to “gift” the jets to Ukraine and their pilots come pick them up, oh well, not Poland’s problem!

Ah, international politics, where one country’s plausible deniability is another country’s punchline.

As you can probably guess, this deal has been in the works for a while, but Poland – a NATO ally – was understandably nervous about giving the MIG-29s to Ukraine. The last thing we need is Putin deciding that this was NATO throwing its hat into the proverbial ring. The deal looked dead until its announcement today.

“The authorities of the Republic of Poland…are ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” the (foreign) ministry said.”

“At the same time, Poland requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities. Poland is ready to immediately establish the conditions of purchase of the planes,” it said in a statement.”

Poland is supporting Kyiv with defensive weapons, but has said it would not send jets to Ukraine, as it is not a direct party to the conflict between Ukraine – which is not a NATO ally – and Russia.”

“…any decisions on delivering offensive weapons have to be taken by the entire NATO and on a unanimous basis,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday during a joint news conference with his Norwegian counterpart in Oslo.”

“This is why we are ready to give all of our fleet of jet fighters to Ramstein, but we are not ready to make any moves on our own because, as I said, we are not party to this war,” he added.”

There’s a lot of hair-splitting in that official statement from the Foreign Ministry of Poland, but it’s a necessary cover-your-ass move because the last thing they want is for Putin to decide that Poland is now a legitimate military target. And you can’t blame them. Poland is absorbing Ukrainian refugees, supplying small arms for “defense,” and they have front-row seats to the entire invasion. Making the United States the middleman gives Poland the cover it needs to make the trade happen. Now, all Ukraine needs to do is send pilots to pick up the jets once they are parked at Ramstein.

This deal is a risky one, because if Putin decides that nope, he’s not buying Poland’s excuse, then there’s going to be an escalation. But can Russia actually afford an escalation? They can’t even move very much within Ukraine right now. And the Russian army? Well….


I don’t expect Russian opinion to shift against Putin any time soon, but the longer the Ukrainians can hold out, the more likely it is that Putin will have to concede more than he would have initially, just to save face. How long will that take? I guess we will soon find out just how much of a difference some MIG-29 fighter jets can make to Ukraine.

UPDATE 9:50 PM PT
Oh. My. God. HOW CAN THIS ADMINISTRATION BE THIS INEPT???


How in the name of ALL that is holy and decent does the Biden administration let the Polish government put themselves out on this limb, and then just hack it off behind them??? What a colossal embarrassment. How does the State Department under Blinken actively pursue this deal, only to have the Pentagon kill it at the last minute???

And we wonder why our allies no longer trust us. Excuse me, I’m going to go scream into a pillow.

Featured image via sjr4x4 on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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4 Comments
  • American Human says:

    Putin would be a absolute fool to try and get Poland into this war. From history, everyone should understand that they should never underestimate Poland’s determination. The Germans with their fancy tanks and blitzkrieg took weeks and weeks to finish them off. Caged and unarmed Jews in the ghetto caused immeasurable harm and those hiding in the woods wreaked havoc on the German army.

    Poland was the first to free themselves from the Soviet yoke.

    Putin cannot even afford this war with Ukraine but, believe me, he will not stand down regardless of what the outcome is. If he stupidly attacks Poland, and brings NATO into the war, he will use nukes. I have no doubt.

  • AF JAG retired says:

    The problem is that the US has historically taken the position that “Neutral territory may not be used as a base of operations against belligerent forces.” This includes moving “forces or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the land territory of a neutral state.” (2015 Dept. of Defense Law of War Manual, paragraph 15.5) In these situations, the US has taken the position that it has the right to attack, openly or by clandestine means, enemy forces on neutral territory. So yes, the Russians could attack NATO bases from which Ukrainian planes took off, and cite our own policies back in reply. Man-portable anti-tank and anti-air missiles can be moved clandestinely, but moving fighter jets is pretty hard to hide.
    It’s amazing that no one in the foreign policy establishment realized for days that this long-standing US position could come back to bite us. We again appear to be represented by the gang who couldn’t shoot straight.

  • […] but not MIG-29s, apparently, and Biden straight up ignored a question about the deal that he personally scuttled just last week. Seriously, what is the difference between an […]

  • […] for the Ukrainians to provide their own air coverage. As we all saw play out in a truly humiliating diplomatic screwup, Biden himself tanked the deal that would have given the Ukrainians the old MiG-29s from Poland. […]

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