New Delhi, : The United Kingdom has warned Poland that sending fighter jets to Ukraine may put them into the “direct line of fire” from Russia.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News on Tuesday that whilst the UK would “support” a Polish choice to supply Ukraine with fighter jets the country should be aware of Russia’s warning of “retribution.”
The news comes a day after the US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith told CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour that US officials are discussing with the Polish government the potential for Poland to send MiG-29 Soviet-era fighter jets in support of Ukraine. Smith emphasized that this is a “sovereign decision” for Poland to take.
“Poland borders a number of countries such as Belarus, that is an active participant with Russia. And Poland will understand that the choices are not only directly helping Ukraine, which is a good thing, but also may bring them into the direct line of fire from countries such as Russia or Belarus,” Wallace said.
He added that it wasn’t for him to “second guess” Poland’s choice, remarking that there is a “really big responsibility on the shoulders of the President of Poland and the defense minister.”
“It is for me as a fellow NATO member to say that we will support Poland and whatever choice she makes,” Wallace concluded.
So far, NATO has remained firm in its unwillingness to get directly involved in the conflict beyond supporting Ukraine’s resistance to an invasion that is killing innocent civilians, while US officials have made clear that American troops won’t engage directly with Russian forces.
Both parties on Friday also pushed back against calls for a no-fly zone to be set up in Ukraine, warning that it could lead to a “full-fledged war in Europe” and saying they’re doing what they can to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invasion.