VP Harris flies into middle of NATO debacle over providing fighter jets to Ukraine
Kamala Harris’ trip to eastern Europe comes as the US and Poland have publicly clashed over how to handle the transfer of fighter jets to Ukrainian forces.
Poland’s foreign minister announced Tuesday that the country was “ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their Russian-made MiG-29 jets to the [US] Ramstein air base and place them at the disposal of the government of the United States of America”.
It was originally expected that the US would receive the planes and then donate them to Ukraine, but the Pentagon released a statement hours after Poland’s announcement saying that was not a feasible plan.
“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,” said John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.
“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.”
A senior administration official said Tuesday night that the White House has been in consistent communication with the Polish government about how to best provide security assistance to Ukraine.
“That’s a dialogue that absolutely will continue up to and as part of the vice-president’s trip,” the official said. “This is a key priority for us and for all of our Nato allies, and so we expect that we will continue talking about how to achieve this really important objective.”
Ramstein air base in south-western Germany is headquarters for the US air forces in Europe and Nato allied air command.