Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to staunch ally Poland is now a clean-up mission.
A day after the United States declined Poland’s surprise proposal to provide Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. to give to Ukraine, Harris met with the country’s top leaders in Warsaw, where part of her job was to smooth over the controversy.
A major aim of the trip is to show unity among NATO allies in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, where the death toll has been rising. On Wednesday, a Russian airstrike devastated a maternity hospital in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, burying women and children under debris and injuring more than a dozen.
At a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda Thursday, Harris expressed outrage at the airstrike, saying it was an example “atrocities of unimaginable proportions” committed by Russia.
Harris arrived in Warsaw Wednesday, hours after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Polish leaders that the United States does not support the transfer of additional fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
“We believe the best way to support Ukrainian defense is by providing them the weapons and the systems that they need most to defeat Russian aggression, in particular, anti-armor and air defense,” Kirby said.