Polish authorities are ready to hand over all their MiG-29 fighters to the United States. At the same time, Poland expects Washington to hand over aircraft with similar operational capabilities and is ready to start negotiations on their purchase immediately.
“After consulting with the President and the Government of Poland, the Polish authorities are ready to immediately and free of charge move all their MiG-29 aircraft to the base in Ramstein (Germany – ed.) And hand them over to the U.S. government,” said Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau in a statement.
At the same time, Poland is appealing to the United States to provide it with aircraft with similar operational capabilities already in operation, he said.
Poland is ready to agree on the terms of purchasing these aircraft immediately, he added.
The Polish government also called on other NATO countries with MiG-29s in their arsenal to do the same. Bulgaria has 13 MiG-29s and 8 Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft. Slovakia has 11 MiG 29s.
On 7th March, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reportedly said that NATO members, including Poland, had received the “green light” to send fighters to Ukraine. At the time, Poland said that a final decision had not yet been made.
The U.S. puts the ball back in Polish court
Rejecting the Polish offer, Pentagon spokesman Kirby said, “We are in contact with the Polish government following today’s statement… as we have said, the decision on whether to transfer Polish aircraft to Ukraine is ultimately up to the Polish government.”
Kirby underlined that the United States would continue to consult with its allies on ongoing security assistance to Ukraine. Pointing out that Poland’s proposal is just a few of the complications caused by the aid provided to Ukraine, Kirby said, “The view that warplanes are placed at the disposal of the United States Government to fly from a US/NATO base in Germany to the disputed airspace between Russia and Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance… We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the tough logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is reasonable.”
Romanian MiG-21 fighter was shot down by a Ukraine, rescue helicopter crashes
Romania, on 8th March, said that a MiG-21 aircraft was shot down by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile; presumably, it was a missile of the S-300PS complex.
The Ukrainian media claimed that the Romanian Air Force MiG-21 Lancer fighter had crashed.
The Mig-21 disappeared from radar when it was over the Black Sea. A rescue helicopter was sent to search for the aircraft, which also crashed, as per the Romanian Air Force.
Bucharest said the IAR 330 helicopter went in the evening to search for the MiG-21 Lancer, and the radio contact was lost.
The pilot managed to report bad weather and was ordered to return to base, the Romanian Air Force said in a statement. There were five soldiers on board.
As per the media reports, the Romanian fighter had escorted the Ukrainian Su-27.
Call for limited No fly zone over Ukraine
A group of 27 high-ranking officials wrote a letter to the U.S. President in which they proposed introducing a “limited no-fly zone” over Ukraine. In their opinion, American planes should provide cover for the humanitarian corridors agreed by Kyiv and Moscow. The White House should convey to the Russian authorities that the United States does not want a confrontation with Russia but does not intend to tolerate attacks by Russian troops on civilian areas.
The signatories called on the Biden administration, along with NATO allies, to implement a restricted no-fly zone over Ukraine, starting with protecting the humanitarian corridors that were agreed in talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials on Thursday.
Some of the signatories are called Russophobes by Russia. The list includes former U.S. representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, General Philip Breedlove, former State Department sanctions coordinator Daniel Fried, former U.S. ambassadors to Kyiv John Herbst and William Taylor, ex-ambassador in Moscow Alexander Vershbow, etc.
Earlier, President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin Lloyd said, and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg confirmed that neither the United States nor NATO is looking for a confrontation with Russia, and therefore they will not interfere in the special operation being carried out on the territory of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will not tolerate interference in the special operation and will consider any attempts by other countries to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in hostilities, which would have disastrous consequences for the whole world.