Poland sets condition to supply F-16s to Kiev: Coordination with NATO
The Polish PM says his country will act in full coordination with NATO in case it decided to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pointed out that Poland can hand over its F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine only in coordination with other NATO partners.
"As it was a few months ago in the context of the MiGs, any other air force will be disposed and likely transferred in coordination with NATO countries. We will act in full coordination here," Morawiecki told reporters at a press conference, answering a question on whether Poland is ready to transfer its F-16 fighters to Ukraine.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on NATO countries to unlock the supply of long-range missiles and military aircraft to Kiev.
Morawiecki's statement comes after Polish media reported last week that Warsaw had allegedly transferred a number of its MiG-29s to Ukraine in March 2022, disguising them as spare parts.
It is noteworthy that on March 8, 2022, the Polish Foreign Ministry said it was ready to transfer its MiG-29 fighters to the Ramstein air base in Germany and give them at the disposal of the US government.
However, the following day, US Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby said the US administration assessed the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine as "high risk".
Earlier, the German government's spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann pointed out on Monday that the government's refusal to supply Ukraine with fighter jets remains unchanged and any speculations on this topic are untimely. This comes despite Germany announcing that it will deliver 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius recently claimed that Germany had no plans to send warplanes to Ukraine.
On Monday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Kiev expects to receive fighter jets from the West in the near future and it would take Ukrainian pilots at least six months to learn how to operate them.
A couple of days ago, Colonel Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson for the Air Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Kiev intends to obtain 24 F-16 fighter jets from its international allies.
Read more: US refuses to say if Ukraine is to receive toxic depleted uranium ammo
Group of DoD officials secretly lobbying for F-16s to Kiev: Politico
On the other hand, a group of US military officials is quietly lobbying for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Politico reported, citing three anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
According to the newspaper, the campaign for F-16s to Ukraine is gaining momentum in the Pentagon, while Kiev is bracing for a planned offensive this spring.
A senior Pentagon official told Politico he did not think the US Department of Defense (DoD) was opposed to the idea, noting that there was no final decision on the possible supplies yet.
However, there is no appetite in the Pentagon for this proposal, US officials revealed, according to Politico.
Even though Washington has not yet decided on the deliveries of fighter jets, Ukraine has already compiled a list of some 50 pilots, who are ready to start training on F-16s, speak English, and have a track record of "thousands of combat missions," the newspaper cited a DoD official and a Ukrainian official, as well as three other people familiar with the discussions, as saying.
Read more: Group of DoD officials secretly lobbying for F-16s to Kiev: Politico