US Vice President’s trip to Poland, Romania overshadowed by fighter jet “debacle”Reading Time: 2 minutes
The Guardian reports that on Wednesday morning US time Vice President Kamala Harris was travelling to Poland, where she’ll meet Poland’s President and Prime Minister, on a trip to “further support to our allies and is also an extremely important opportunity to collaborate with them on next steps in responding to Russian aggression,” according to senior Biden administration official.
Vice President Harris will also have to deal with what’s being described as a “debacle” between the US and Poland over the prospect of supplying Ukraine with second-hand, Russian-built fighter jets. Warsaw’s surprise proposal to Washington to have Polish MIG-29s take off from NATO bases and fly into contested airspace over Ukraine would risk drawing the Western defence alliance into conflict with Russia.
“Departing from a US NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace contested with Russia over Ukraine raises some serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented late Wednesday of Poland’s proposal put forth on Tuesday. “So we have to work through the specifics of these things going forward,” he said at a press reception after meeting with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Romania Insider reports that the US Vice President will later travel to Romania this week and on Friday meet with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest, where the two will discuss allied measures to strengthen the deterrence and defence of NATO on the eastern flank, a possible increased allied military presence in Romania, and potential sanctions on Russia.
Radio Prague International reports that prime ministers from “Visegrad Four” group – Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine. They discussed reducing their countries’ energy dependence on Russia as well as additional sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Following their meeting, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said there needed to be consensus on Russian aggression across the EU, commenting, “The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia are countries which are calling for the hardest measures to be taken against Russia. We are also ready to support Ukraine with all of the resources that we possess.”
While Hungary condemns Russia’s military attack and the war, it will not “allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of war”, said Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban following the V4 meeting in London. In a video message, Orban said bringing the war to an end was in everyone’s interest, but added that expanding the sanctions to the energy sector would put a “disproportionately heavy burden on Hungary” The Prime Minister said he would “not allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of war”.