US Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Poland on Wednesday to discuss how to provide ‘military assistance’ to Ukraine, White House officials said, hours after Washington rejected Warsaw’s offer of Soviet-era combat aircraft.
The trip was planned before Poland took the United States by surprise on Tuesday by offering to send its Mig-29 jets to Ukraine via a US airbase.
Washington rejected the proposal, with Pentagon spokesman John Kirby saying the prospect of the planes flying from a US-NATO base “in disputed airspace with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns.” concerns for the entire NATO alliance”.
Harris will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Asked about fighter jets, a White House official did not address the subject directly.
“We have been in dialogue with the Poles for some time on how best to provide a variety of security assistance to Ukraine. And it is a dialogue that will absolutely continue until and within the framework of the Vice -president,” she said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is visiting Poland, is also expected to meet with Harris.
The vice president’s schedule includes meetings with refugees who fled the war and staff from the US Embassy in Kyiv who left the Ukrainian capital.
She will also travel to Romania on Friday to meet President Klaus Iohannis.
This is the vice president’s third trip to Europe, having met President Emmanuel Macron in France and attended the Munich Security Conference.