News
March 9, 2022

Who's in charge? Anyone?

It is time we show leadership

Who's in charge? Anyone?

Who’s in charge? Anyone? Guess Not?

Maybe if everyone keeps their heads down Zelenskyy won’t know who to ask for jet fighters and a No-Fly Zone

On February 27 the EU’s foreign policy chief made the public offer of fighter planes for Ukraine.

When one asked, not knowing what type of fighters were being offered, who would fly them it was learned some NATO members had MiG 29s and Ukrainians knew how to fly them. Great!

It is now 10 days later.

In that time, it would seem Poland indicated a reluctance to transfer its MiGs, the United States pressed Poland publicly to give the fighters to Ukraine (with who knows what kinds of backroom discussions), then Poland announced it was ready to transfer all its MiGs to a U.S. air base in Germany from which the U.S. could transfer the aircraft to the Ukrainian military.  And the U.S. rejected the offer (a) complaining the Poles hadn’t said anything prior to their announcement; and (b) MiGs departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into contested (by Russia) Ukrainian airspace would raise concerns.

Oh, and during that 10-day period innocent people have died.

Apparently, no one planned for any contingencies beforehand and so there was (is) no action plan.

And we hear critical western observations about the Russian military’s ineptitude!

It is time we show leadership and stop cowering before the threats of the Kremlin bully and get planes to Ukraine and establish a No-Fly Zone.

Axios

Pentagon rejects Polish plan to give fighter jets to U.S. to supply Ukraine

Zachary Basu

Photo: Karol Serewis/Getty Images Poland/Getty Images

The U.S. has rejected a plan from the Polish government to deploy Poland's entire fleet of used MiG-29 fighter jets to a U.S. airbase in Germany, which would have given the U.S. the option to then transfer the Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine's military.

The latest: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby issued a statement Tuesday evening indicating that the Polish government had not consulted with the U.S. prior to its announcement.

What they're saying: "The prospect of fighter jets 'at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America' departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance," Kirby said.

  • "It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it," he added, stressing that the proposal "shows just some of the complexities this issue presents."
  • "We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland's proposal is a tenable one."

Why it matters: Ukraine has pleaded with the Western allies to either impose a "no-fly" zone or hand over warplanes that Ukrainian pilots could use to counter Russia's aerial assault.

Zoom in: Under one option being considered by the Biden administration, the U.S. would backfill Poland's MiG-29 fleet with American-made F-16 fighter jets.

  • The U.S. and Poland had downplayed the chances of such a deal as recently as Monday, warning of major logistics issues and the risk of provoking Russia.
  • That suddenly appeared to change on Tuesday, when Poland said it would send the MiGs to the U.S. in exchange for "used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities."
  • Poland also called on other eastern-flank NATO allies in possession of MiGs — Bulgaria and Slovakia — to take similar steps.

Between the lines: After Poland's announcement, which appeared to shift responsibility for making the deal happen to the U.S., a top State Department official said the Biden administration was not consulted.

  • "To my knowledge, it wasn't pre-consulted with us that they planned to give these planes to us," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland testified to the Senate.
  • Russia's Defense Ministry had warned on Sunday that any country that allows Ukrainian-operated airplanes to use their soil to attack the Russian military could be considered a participant in the conflict.

What to watch: The Biden administration is still facing bipartisan pressure from Congress to somehow facilitate the transfer of the jets to Ukraine.

  • In principle, the U.S. has said Poland has a "green light" to send the jets to Ukraine — but the logistical and political hurdles may be prove too difficult to surmount.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information from the Pentagon

End Article

And I know one is not supposed to mention the Budapest Memorandum in polite company but I am going to do so anyway.

To get Ukraine to release the nuclear arsenal on its soil to Russia – to Russia – the United States, Great Britain and Russia signed the Budapest Memorandum providing that if Ukraine would release those nuclear weapons to Russia the other signatories would “assure” Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty.

I know, raise the issue and you are told “assurances” are not “guarantees” and the excuses weave their way through definitional distinctions that, in truth, lead you to seeing the United States and Great Britain treating the Budapest Memorandum the same way Russia treats essentially every agreement it signs – use it when convenient and discard it when not convenient.

A normal person sees parties agreeing that if one does this, the other will do that. Ukraine did “this” and we are not doing “that”.

Drop the nuanced excuses and do what is morally right – No-Fly Zone for a start.

The title, the introductory comments and the comments about the Budapest Memorandum are Mr. McConnell's and do not necessarily represent the view of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation or the Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN).