Actor Sean Penn took it upon himself to engage in some kind of diplomacy between Ukraine and the US on Wednesday. He claimed he had just spoken with Ukrainian President Zelenksy's chief of staff and about "desperately NEEDED" jets that are stuck "somewhere in the bureaucratic chain" between the US and Poland.
Penn indicated that perhaps if there was "public outcry" showing how much Americans wanted Poland to send fighter jets to Ukraine, that "may find the bottleneck."
Penn was recently in Ukraine "working on a documentary about Russia's aggression toward Ukraine when the invasion began. He has briefly spoken out about his take on the situation, calling for America to join the fight or risk losing its soul," according to Newsweek.
As Russia invaded, Penn made his way to the Polish border and crossed on foot. He spoke about the others who were also leaving the country, sharing photos.
"Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road. Almost all the cars in this photo carry women & children only, most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value," he wrote.
Ukraine has requested fighter jets, specifically MiG-29 fighter jets that their pilots know how to operate. Poland, a NATO nation, has these jets, and when the US requested them on behalf of Ukraine, Poland said they would send them on to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where the US could take possession of them.
"The authorities of the Republic of Poland, after consultations between the President and the Government, are ready to deploy — immediately and free of charge — all their MiG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America," Poland's statement read.
Poland also, per the statement, "requests the United States to provide us with used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities. They asked "other NATO Allies — owners of MiG-29 jets — to act in the same vein."
The US declined that proposal, with Pentagon spokesman John Kirby saying that the US did not want to be the ones sending fighter jets to Ukraine as that could be seen as an escalation toward a potential conflict between Russia and the US, both nuclear powers.
"The prospect of fighter jets 'at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America' departing from a US/NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance," Kirby said.
"It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it." Noting "the difficult logistical challenges it presents," he added, "we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one."
What Penn calls the stall of jets "somewhere in the bureaucratic chain" is actually the result of two NATO nations not wanting to engage in direct conflict with Russia.
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