Mar 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Harris: U.S. and Poland "united" despite fighter jets disagreement

Picture of Kamala Harris
Photo: Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday said that the U.S. and Poland remain "united" in their support for Ukraine, despite the Pentagon's rejection of the Polish government's fighter jets proposal.

Driving the news: The Pentagon rejected a plan from Poland to deploy the country's fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets to a U.S. base in Germany, which then the U.S. would have transferred to Ukraine.

  • Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that having the jets leave the U.S. base "to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance."
  • Kirby said the proposal had not been discussed with the U.S. prior to it being made public.

What she's saying: "We are here, and I am here in Poland today, as part of an enduring, longstanding friendship and commitment between the United States and Poland based on shared values and priorities," said Harris, who is currently in Warsaw, Poland, in a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

  • When it comes to Ukraine, Harris said the U.S. and Poland "will do everything together in partnership, in solidarity, to support what is necessary at this very moment in terms of the humanitarian and security needs of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people."

When asked about the U.S. declining the fighter jets offer from Poland, Harris said: "I want to be very clear: The United States and Poland are united in what we have done and are prepared to do to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine — full stop."

  • "In terms of what the United States has done thus far, we have given military, humanitarian and security assistance and that is an ongoing process."

Duda was more direct to answer on the fighter jets, saying that Poland "decided to put those jets at the disposal of NATO, not expecting anything in return."

  • "We were ready to provide out equipment free of charge, but we wanted NATO as a whole to make a common decision so that Poland remains a credible member of NATO, not a country who decides on its own on important issues which impact the security of NATO as a whole."
  • Duda defended his government's jets offer: "We behaved in such a way as a reliable member of NATO should behave."

Of note: Harris also announced nearly $53 million in humanitarian assistance from the U.S. to "support innocent civilians affected by Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine," according to a White House press release.

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