Poland said on Tuesday that it was ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US Air Force’s Ramstein base in Germany and make them available to Washington for supply to Ukraine, according to a statement from the Polish Foreign Ministry.
“At the same time, Poland is asking the United States to provide us with second-hand aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities. Poland is ready to immediately establish the conditions for the purchase of the aircraft,” he added.
In the statement, the Polish government urged “other NATO allies – owners of MIG-29 aircraft – to act in the same direction”.
A senior State Department official said on Tuesday that Poland did not consult with the United States before issuing its statement on whether to transfer US planes to Germany.
“I saw this announcement from the Polish government as I was literally driving here today,” Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“So to my knowledge, we weren’t consulted beforehand that they would consider giving us these planes,” she said.
“I can’t wait for this hearing to be over to go back to my office and see how we respond to their offer to give us the planes,” she said, noting that the United States and Poland had been in consultation for a long time. a few years. days on this subject.
A senior US defense official, meanwhile, told CNN he had seen the Polish government’s announcement and “had nothing to offer at this time.”
More background: It remains unclear where the United States will pull the F-16s from in order to possibly send them to Poland or other Eastern European countries in the short term. But members of Congress support the effort. Senator Ben Cardin asked Nuland that the Biden administration let him know if there would be any delays in getting those F-16s to Poland.
Still, the complicated logistics behind the idea that U.S. and Polish officials have now discussed have yet to be determined, two European diplomats told CNN.
The Polish announcement comes after some Polish officials became frustrated with the way the United States dealt with the matter over the weekend, the sources said.
“In fact, we are currently discussing with our Polish friends what we could do to meet their needs if, in fact, they chose to supply these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What can we do? How can we help make sure they get something to fill the planes they’re handing over to the Ukrainians. We’re in very active discussions with them about that,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on CBS on Sunday.
The Poles believe that Vice President Harris’ visit to Poland in the coming days would be a good time for the United States to announce more details, but they did not know whether it was going to happen or not, a Polish official said. .
Other countries that are in talks with the United States to also participate in a similar action are carrying on the talks quietly, without raising expectations, a central European diplomat said.
CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed reporting for this post.