STATEMENT BY THE COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
U.S. European Command is incredibly appreciative of our strong Polish Allies and their inspiring support of Ukraine. USEUCOM and Poland's military forces are united and aligned in our operations and activities. We understand Poland recently made various proposals to transfer its MiG-29 aircraft from Poland to assist Ukraine.
We believe the most effective way to support the Ukrainian military in their fight against Russia is to provide increased amounts of anti-tank weapons and air defense systems, which is on-going with the international community. The Ukrainians are making excellent use of these weapons now. Although Russian air capabilities are significant, their effectiveness remains limited due to Ukrainian strategic, operational, and tactical ground-based air defense systems...SAMs and MANPADS.
USEUCOM assesses the military usefulness of additional fixed wing air to Ukraine will be high-risk and low gain.
The transfer of MiG-29 aircraft will not appreciably increase the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Air Force. The Ukrainian Air Force currently possesses numerous mission capable aircraft that are flying daily. Adding aircraft to the Ukrainian inventory is unlikely to change the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Air Force relative to Russian capabilities. Therefore, we assess that the overall gain is low.
Lastly, the intelligence community assesses the transfer of MiG-29s to Ukraine may be mistaken as escalatory and could result in Russian escalation with NATO...producing a high risk scenario. USEUCOM thanks our Polish Allies for their outstanding support and cooperation. EUCOM will continue to evaluate ways to best support and assist our Ukraine friends. However, in the near-term, and based on this assessment, USEUCOM has no plans to facilitate an indirect, or third party transfer of Polish aircraft.