US, Poland consider deal to give fighter aircraft to Ukraine

The U.S. and Poland are considering a deal that would provide fighter aircraft to Ukraine, multiple news outlets reported Saturday.

Four U.S. officials told Politico, which first reported on the discussions, that the two countries are in talks about an arrangement that would see Poland sending used MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine and in turn receiving U.S.-made warplanes.

“We are working with the Poles on this issue and consulting with the rest of our NATO allies,” a White House spokesperson told Politico. “We are also working on the capabilities we could provide to backfill Poland if it decided to transfer planes to Ukraine.”

The administration has “in no way opposed Poland transferring planes to Ukraine,” the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson indicated that it would be difficult for the U.S. to transfer American F-16s to Poland. It could take a long time to authorize, Politico noted.

The Wall Street Journal also reported the potential deal Saturday, citing U.S. officials.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked members of Congress on Saturday for more airplanes as his country continues to fight Russian troops who invaded more than a week ago. 

He also asked for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and for the U.S. to stop buying Russian oil.

Multiple lawmakers have expressed support for a ban on Russian oil imports, with the White House saying Friday that President Biden is considering steps to reduce U.S. consumption of Russian energy.

But both the U.S. and NATO have rebuffed Ukraine's requests that a no-fly zone be established over the country, saying implementing such a zone could lead to large-scale war.

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