US not considering Ukrainian fighters after Poland, Slovakia pledge more than a dozen MiGs


Despite Poland and Slovakia pledging to send MiG-29s to Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s aggression, the United States is not considering sending fighter jets to Ukraine, it said on March 21. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said.

At a State Department press conference, when asked by The Epoch Times whether the move in Poland and Slovakia would change the U.S. position on whether to send fighter jets to Ukraine, Patel said no.

“It doesn’t change our position. [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] I had the chance to talk a little bit about this in Niamey [in Niger] At the press conference,” Patel said.

At a press conference on March 16, Blinken called Poland’s decision to provide MiGs to Ukraine is a “sovereign” decision.

Patel repeated that stance.

“The transfer of military equipment is a sovereign decision that a country makes in a manner consistent with its international obligations. We have provided a large amount of security assistance.

“You’ve heard the Pentagon president and leaders clearly say that the F-16 is not what we’re currently looking at,” he continued. “As we have consistently done since before February last year, we have focused on sending Ukraine what it needs to succeed at each stage of this war. We’re focused on the weapons and gear you need to stand on the ground.”

Poland announced on March 16 that it would become the first NATO member to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

“A decision has been made at the highest level regarding the MiG-29 aircraft still in service in the defense of Polish airspace,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at a press conference.

“We can confidently say that we are sending MiGs to Ukraine.”

Duda told CNN on March 9 that Warsaw “is ready to hand over MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine as part of the United Nations.”

The moves in Poland and Slovakia could be a turning point for Ukraine to repel Russian aggression.

Patel agreed with what John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said on March 16 that Poland would send fighter jets to Ukraine.

“The formula for the F-16 remains the same,” he said.

“These are sovereign decisions for any country and we respect those sovereign decisions.”