US “Green-Lights” NATO Sending Fighter Jets To Ukraine

NATO members and Poland, in particular, have the critical support of the US to send fighter jets to Ukraine to assist its defenders against the Russian invasion.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “Face the Nation” Sunday that the administration is discussing with Poland what needs to be done to “backfill their needs if they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians.”

The “backfill” Blinken mentioned is the request from Warsaw that the US replace the planes it sends Kyiv with US-made fighter jets. Poland is one of several Eastern European countries that still have dozens of Soviet-manufactured MiG-29s, which will be particularly helpful since Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly them.

The US had considered several issues with the three-way proposal of getting Polish aircraft to Ukraine that American fighters will replace. The first is the possible Russian perception of such a move as an escalation. Another essential concern is the avionics in modern fighter jets and the legality of sending them abroad.

Blinken added that the administration is working with NATO members and the Group of 7 to increase pressure on Russia with additional sanctions.

On Monday, the besieged Ukrainian government again increased pressure on Western nations to bolster its air power to assist its defense against Russian airstrikes. The US and its allies have rejected implementing a no-fly zone in Ukrainian airspace.

Officially, Poland says it has no plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine, stating the country will “significantly help in many other areas.” This statement came before Blinken’s comments on Sunday.

There has been a steady influx of Western military hardware, including anti-armor and anti-air defense weapons pouring into Ukraine. Much of the equipment and small arms and munitions have been funneled through Poland by the US and UK.

A previous EU effort to deliver fighter jets to the Ukrainian defenders fell through even as pilots were already in Poland awaiting the handoff of the aircraft.

Now twelve days into Russia’s unprovoked invasion, a senior US defense official said Sunday evening that Moscow’s forces continue to advance and isolate critical cities in the north and east but face Ukrainian solid resistance. The 40-mile convoy moving towards Kyiv remains stalled, even though an estimated 95% of the troops massed at the border are now active inside the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday told Western leaders in a statement that his country is “deciding the future of the continent with our resistance.”