The proposal by the Polish government to transfer its entire fleet of MiG-29 combat aircraft to Ukraine was rejected by the U.S. on the grounds that it was too “high risk” and had the potential to drastically escalate the conflict.
Washington rejected Poland’s offer to send all its MIG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Force base in Germany where they would then be sent on to Ukraine. Poland currently has a fleet of 30 MIG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) with 23 in active service.
The statement on the transfer offer by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland:
“The authorities of the Republic of Poland, following consultation between the President and the Government, remain ready to immediately and free of charge move all of its MiG-29 aircraft to the Ramstein Airbase, and place them at the disposal of the government of the United States of America.
At the same time Poland asks the United States government to supply it with used aircraft of analogous operational capabilities. Poland remains ready to immediately arrange the conditions for procurement of those aircraft.
The Polish government also asks other NATO member states – owning the MiG-29 jets – to undertake action of similar nature.”
In response to the offer General Tod D. Wolters, Commander, U.S. European Command said:
“U.S. European Command is incredibly appreciative of our strong Polish Allies and their inspiring support of Ukraine. USEUCOM and Poland’s military forces are united and aligned in our operations and activities. We understand Poland recently made various proposals to transfer its MiG-29 aircraft from Poland to assist Ukraine.
We believe the most effective way to support the Ukrainian military in their fight against Russia is to provide increased amounts of anti-tank weapons and air defense systems, which is on-going with the international community. The Ukrainians are making excellent use of these weapons now. Although Russian air capabilities are significant, their effectiveness remains limited due to Ukrainian strategic, operational, and tactical ground-based air defense systems…SAMs and MANPADS.
USEUCOM assesses the military usefulness of additional fixed wing air to Ukraine will be high-risk and low gain.
Lastly, the intelligence community assesses the transfer of MiG-29s to Ukraine may be mistaken as escalatory and could result in Russian escalation with NATO…producing a high risk scenario.”