U.S. rejects Poland’s offer to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The Unit­ed States has reject­ed Poland’s offer to send its MiG-29 fight­er jets to Ukraine via a U.S. air base in Ger­many, say­ing the pro­pos­al raised “seri­ous con­cerns” for the entire NATO alliance.

War­saw made the sur­prise offer Tues­day amid repeat­ed calls from Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skyy for more war­planes to replen­ish his coun­try’s air force as it defends itself against invad­ing Russ­ian forces.

The Pol­ish pro­gram pro­posed that Russ­ian MiG-29 fight­er jets be deliv­ered to a U.S. base in Ram­stein, Ger­many, and then deployed to Ukraine.

But Pen­ta­gon spokesman John Kir­by said the prospect of the jets fly­ing from a U.S.-NATO base “into air­space con­test­ed with Rus­sia over Ukraine rais­es seri­ous con­cerns for the entire NATO alliance.”

“We will con­tin­ue to con­sult with Poland and our oth­er NATO allies on this issue and the dif­fi­cult logis­ti­cal chal­lenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s pro­pos­al is ten­able,” Kir­by said in a statement.

“It is sim­ply not clear to us that there is any sub­stan­tial jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this,” he added.

While a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the Ukrain­ian air force remains intact since the war began on Feb. 24, both Ukraine and Rus­sia have suf­fered sig­nif­i­cant loss­es and nei­ther con­trols the air­space over the country.

The Ukrain­ian air force fleet con­sists of aging Sovi­et-era MiG-29 and Sukhoi-27 air­craft, and heav­ier Sukhoi-25 air­craft — and these are the only air­craft Ukrain­ian pilots could fly imme­di­ate­ly with­out addi­tion­al training.

And while Ukraine has stepped up its appeals to West­ern allies to pro­vide mil­i­tary air­craft, pro­vid­ing Kiev with fight­er jets presents seri­ous risks.

Rus­sia has warned that sup­port­ing the Ukrain­ian air force would be seen in Moscow as par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­flict and would open sup­pli­ers to pos­si­ble retaliation.

NATO has said it does not want a direct con­flict with Moscow, anoth­er nuclear pow­er, and U.S. Pres­i­dent Joe Biden has ruled out send­ing U.S. troops to Ukraine to fight, which the Pen­ta­gon said would apply to ground troops or in the air, fly­ing missions.

After Poland announced its offer, U.S. Under­sec­re­tary of State for Polit­i­cal Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland told U.S. law­mak­ers that Wash­ing­ton had been caught off guard.

“To my knowl­edge, we were not con­sult­ed before­hand about the fact that they were plan­ning to give us these planes,” Nuland said at a Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee hear­ing. “So I think it was actu­al­ly a sur­prise deci­sion on the part of the Poles,” she said.

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