(PatriotWise.com)- Last week, the Biden administration found itself at odds over the possibility of sending fighter jets to Ukraine.
On Saturday, March 5, Politico reported that the White House was considering a deal in which Poland would send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine and, in exchange, the US would send Poland F-16s to replace the MiG jets.
During an interview on “Face the Nation” the following day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the deal was being discussed and the US had given Poland a “green light” to send the MiGs to Ukraine. Blinken said the US was discussing with the Poles “what we might be able to do to backfill their needs.”
Several US officials said there was general agreement within the administration to move ahead with such a deal. However, some in the Pentagon and the intel community expressed concern that sending jets to Ukraine could drag NATO into direct conflict with Russia.
But the White House made it clear that if Poland wanted to send the fighter jets, the US would not oppose the deal. However, the Biden administration would not guarantee speedy delivery of the replacement F-16s, telling Warsaw such a transfer could take months.
On Tuesday, the Polish government announced that it was ready to transfer 28 MiG fighter jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the US to deliver to Ukraine.
The announcement caught the White House by surprise.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday night that the “logistical challenges” of Poland’s proposal made the plan untenable. Kirby said the administration would continue consulting with Poland and NATO on the issue of jets.
But on Wednesday, after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Polish warplanes would not be permitted to land at Ramstein, the White House abruptly changed its tone, blaming the Poles for derailing any possible transfer of jets to Ukraine by offering to send them to Ramstein.
During his press briefing on Wednesday, Kirby announced that the US wasn’t going through with the deal at all and offered a list of reasons why sending the MiGs to Ukraine was a bad idea.
So the deal was off.
Then on Friday, it was reported that Wednesday’s decision to scrap the idea entirely came directly from Joe Biden.
According to reports, Biden took the advice of those in the Pentagon and intel community who warned that the move would be seen in Moscow as “escalatory.”
After the White House’s about-face, a furious President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech, “This is not ping pong! This is about human lives!” He told the US and NATO to stop shifting responsibility and “send us planes.”