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U.S. rejects Poland fighter jet offer for Ukraine

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STORY: The U.S. rejected a surprise offer from its NATO ally Poland on Tuesday

to transfer fighter jets to an American base in Germany, in the hopes of bolstering Ukraine’s air force.

Washington turned down Poland’s foreign ministry after it had announced it was ready to deploy its MiG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the United States.

Warsaw also urged other members of the NATO alliance to do the same.

Victoria Nuland, a top U.S. diplomat, said the Polish proposal caught Washington by surprise.

She told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "To my knowledge, it wasn't pre-consulted with us that they planned to give these planes to us.”

The U.S. has sought to speed weapons deliveries to Ukraine, but the Pentagon said flying NATO combat aircraft into the war zone “raises serious concerns” for the entire alliance.

That’s what Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday.

He responded to Poland’s offer on Twitter saying, “It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it. We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”

Russia warned this week that countries offering airfields to Ukraine may be considered a declaration of war.

NATO has said it does not want direct conflict with Russia and the White House has ruled out sending troops into Ukraine to fight.

However, the U.S. military announced it would reposition forces to Poland proactively to counter any threat to NATO allies.