July 1, 2022

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VP Kamala Harris lands in Poland amid turbulence over jets for Ukraine

4 min read

Vice President Kamala Harris’ shuttle to Warsaw to thank Poland for taking in masses of hundreds of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion took an sudden flip earlier than she even left Washington. She’s parachuting into the center of sudden diplomatic turbulence over fighter jets.

The Polish executive on Tuesday got here out with a plan to switch its Russian-made fighter planes to a US army base in Germany, with the expectancy that the planes would then be passed over to Ukrainian pilots seeking to fend off Russian forces.

In flip, the USA would provide Poland with U.S.-made jets with “corresponding functions.”

However the Poles didn’t run that concept previous the Biden management earlier than going public with it, and the Pentagon briefly brushed aside the theory as no longer tenable. Warplanes flying from a US and NATO base into airspace contested with Russia would carry the chance of the battle increasing past Ukraine.

Poland’s Top Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday wired that Poland’s beef up to Ukraine has been defensive and that any choice whether or not to make the MiG-29 planes to be had to Ukraine can be as much as the USA and NATO, after which provided that all countries agreed.

Round the similar time that Harris used to be arriving in Warsaw, the Pentagon used to be publicly rebuffing the theory of offering MiGs to Ukraine, even thru a 2d nation.

The aircraft factor supplied an extraordinary second of disharmony in what has been a in large part united effort by way of NATO allies to help Ukraine with out getting embroiled in a much wider battle with Russia.

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And it supposed Harris used to be flying into fractious terrain Wednesday as she opens a two-day seek advice from to Poland and Romania and tries to patch issues up.

“This fighter jet scenario is a messy deal, and Harris must move there and clean issues out,” mentioned Daniel Fried, who served as US ambassador to Poland for President Invoice Clinton and used to be a senior adviser within the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

“There’s a variety of dialogue at the method forward that must be had with the Poles this is higher to have in an in-person dialog.”

White Space Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned Harris’ shuttle used to be no longer centered at the airplane factor and the topic can be “labored thru army channels.”

Harris is slated to fulfill on Thursday with Morawiecki and Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda in addition to with Ukrainians who’ve fled to Poland. She’ll additionally meet with Canadian Top Minister Justin Trudeau whilst in Warsaw. Trudeau has been in Europe this week assembly with Ukraine allies.

Harris will commute on Friday to Bucharest, the place she’s to fulfill Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

The vice chairman additionally is predicted to make use of the conferences in Poland and Romania to underscore the USA dedication to the NATO alliance and the will for endured humanitarian and armed forces help for Ukraine. She’ll additionally spotlight the will for allies to proceed their shut coordination.

Biden has applauded Poland and different jap Eu international locations for stepping up in the course of what’s grow to be a huge humanitarian disaster this is handiest rising. Some 2 million other people have fled Ukraine, and greater than part of the refugees have arrived in Poland.

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Biden on Tuesday mentioned he used to be dedicated to serving to Ukraine’s neighbors help refugees. He has deployed 4,700 further U.S. troops to Poland to reinforce the protection of the jap flank NATO best friend.

“I’ve made it transparent that the USA will proportion within the accountability of taking care of the refugees so the prices don’t fall solely at the Eu international locations bordering Ukraine,” Biden mentioned. He were taking a look to Congress to cross a $14 billion support package deal to help Ukraine and its jap Eu allies.

Hours after Biden spoke, Poland blindsided the White Space with its proposal.

Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political beliefs, instructed the Senate Overseas Members of the family Committee that she noticed the Polish executive’s announcement as she used to be using to Capitol Hill to testify.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. referred to as it “curious” for Poland to announce its plan “with out alerting us first.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken did say on Sunday that the USA used to be running with Poland on plans to offer Ukraine with fighter jets and to “backfill” Poland’s wishes. The Polish executive, then again, made transparent that it might no longer ship its fighter jets without delay to Ukraine or permit its airports for use.

Poland’s thought of moving its MiGs to the USA didn’t arise all over the talks with Blinken, in step with a US legit conversant in the talks.

An management legit, who spoke at the situation of anonymity to speak about the subtle topic, mentioned White Space officers didn’t suppose the proposal would simply remedy logistical demanding situations of offering airplane to Ukraine and puzzled the common sense of moving the planes to a significant NATO base in Germany handiest to transport them again to jap Europe.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been pleading for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine or supply Ukraine with fighter jets. NATO has nixed the no-fly zone thought, pronouncing the sort of transfer would result in the largest war in Europe since Global Struggle II and unfold additional.

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