The United States on Wednesday closed the door on supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine, saying the intelligence community assessed it would be a “high risk” move that could increase the chances of a Russian escalation with NATO.
NATO ally Poland surprised Washington on Tuesday with a public offer to transfer its Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets to a U.S. base in Germany as a way to replenish Ukraine’s air force. Kyiv has implored the West for combat aircraft.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby explained the U.S. decision, saying that the transfer of MiG-29s would change little for Ukraine relative to Russian capabilities, and stressed U.S. support for supplying other types of weapons.
“The intelligence community has assessed that the transfer of MiG-29s to Ukraine may be mistaken as escalatory and could result in significant Russian reaction that might increase the prospects of a military escalation with NATO,” Kirby said.