Poland and US may give Ukraine aircraft from soviet era
Some of Ukraine's military equipment already contains weapons from Soviet rule.
In the latest move to assist Ukraine with lethal weaponry in the present situation, the US is mulling a deal in which Poland would give Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine in return for American F-16 jet fighters, according to The Wall Street Journal on Saturday.
The development follows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's plea to Congress for help in securing additional lethal equipment, including Russian-made jet aircraft.
According to the journal, Russian-made combat planes are in the hands of NATO member nations in Eastern Europe and might be transferred to Ukraine. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, proposed that the US assist with the aircraft handover.
In his statement, Durbin said, “We must eliminate every obstacle to providing every measure of support to Ukraine to include finding a way for the United States to compensate our Eastern European partners who wish to donate their Soviet-style aircraft to Ukraine.“ We are working with the Poles on this issue and consulting with the rest of our NATO allies."
However, the number of Soviet-era planes in Poland is unknown. According to sources, there are a number of "challenging practical questions," including transporting the planes to Ukraine. They allegedly argued that whether or not to deliver Soviet-era jets is a "sovereign decision" for Poland.
“We are working with the Poles on this issue and consulting with the rest of our NATO allies,” according to Durbin.
Additionally, Kiev made an admission that establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine during the ongoing Russian military operation could potentially lead to a direct war between the Russian Federation and NATO, but it is still reiterating the plea for the action.
Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine, in response to requests from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics for assistance in combating Ukrainian troops' aggression. The special operation is only targeting Ukrainian military facilities, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, and the civilian population is not at risk. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine.
Despite the Ukrainian leadership's pleas, the US and NATO have declined to intervene directly in the conflict.
Earlier this week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the organization is a defensive alliance that does not desire confrontation with Russia.
Throughout the operation, Biden has repeatedly stated that the US military will not enter Ukraine, but he did indicate that up to $350 million in additional military assistance, including "lethal defensive assistance," would be sent.
According to a declassified accounting of transfers and sales examined by The Washington Post, the United States significantly increased its supply of lethal military aid to Ukraine as the potential of an escalation with Russia drew closer.
According to the list, the Pentagon began arming Ukrainians with weapons and equipment suited for combat in urban areas as early as December, including shotguns and specialist suits to protect soldiers handling explosive munitions.