Washington’s strategic move to help Ukraine turned out to be initially a premise, then a yellow premise, ending in strategic failure. Poland has nipped in the bud the possibility of Warsaw supplying Ukraine with old military aircraft to respond to the Russian invasion. It is unclear whether it was just aircraft or even pilots. But the planes were part of the remnants that each of the former Soviet bloc countries inherited after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. Everything was born secretly in the last hours. The United States was exploring a complex deal with Poland that included an “aircraft exchange”: Warsaw would send old Soviet-made planes to Kyiv in exchange for American F-16s. The agreement could have required a green light from Congress, but something went wrong.
The meeting via Zoom between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and 280 members of Congress was scheduled to remain confidential, at the express request of Kyiv, but it did not. Two Republican senators, Marco Rubio and Steve Daines, exposed it on social media, posted photos, and in fact sabotaged everything. Rubio rejected the accusation, but was subjected to insults on social media. Someone referred to the alleged funding of more than a million dollars donated by a Russian oligarch to his campaign. What happened during the meeting surfaced in the past few hours, with the Wall Street Journal revealing some background: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked Zelensky what Kyiv needed and the Ukrainian president indicated the need for military aircraft to counter the Russians. Zelensky returned to the hypothesis of a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine’s skies, but added, through an interpreter, “If you can’t declare it, at least give me the planes.” At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned NATO countries that imposing a no-fly zone in the skies of Ukraine would be a declaration of war.
After the Kremlin learned of the meeting via Zoom, he added: “Everyone who hosts Ukrainian planes will take part in the war.” Was the exchange of goods between Washington and Warsaw circumventing this situation? The White House had confirmed the hypothesis: “We are working with the Poles on this issue and we are consulting with the rest of our NATO allies.” The Secretary of State himself, Anthony Blinken, has opened up about this possibility. But then came the denial from Warsaw. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiesi wrote on Twitter: “Poland will not go after Ukraine in the same way that it will not make the airports available. We are helping the Ukrainians concretely, but in other areas.” Among them there will be no military.
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