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Ukraine conflict: Polish MiG transfer in doubt as US nixes plan

Following Poland's announcement that it was to transfer all of its MiG-29s to the US for onward delivery to Ukraine, the Pentagon has poured cold water on the plan by saying it was “untenable”. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

A Polish plan to transfer its entire fleet of MiG-29 'Fulcrum' combat aircraft to help the war effort in Ukraine was thrown into doubt almost as soon as it was announced on 8 March, with the US government saying it does not believe the proposal is tenable.

The on/off saga of the transfer of NATO-operated MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' fighters and Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot' ground-attack aircraft to Kyiv appeared to be back on when the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was willing to transfer its entire fleet of 27 MiG-29s to the US Air Force's Ramstein Air Base in Germany for onward delivery to the Ukrainian Air Force.

However, just minutes after this announcement was made, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby issued a statement nixing the plan after the US government was seemingly caught unawares. “We are now in contact with the Polish government following the statement issued today. As we have said, the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government.

“We will continue consulting with our allies and partners about our ongoing security assistance to Ukraine, because, in fact, Poland's proposal shows just some of the complexities this issue presents. 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.

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