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UK offers Poland fighter jet ring swap

In return for US involvement in Ukraine, Germany must firmly side with Washington in the face of rising geopolitical tensions with China.

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UK offers Poland fighter jet ring swap

In return for US involvement in Ukraine, Germany must firmly side with Washington in the face of rising geopolitical tensions with China. James Heappey, Secretary of State in the British Ministry of Defence, said in an interview with WELT.

"For most US lawmakers, the return isn't necessarily Europe's strategic autonomy, or meeting NATO's two percent target. Washington wants to see the will of global powers like Britain and Germany to sail east of Suez to continue our security efforts," Heappey said.

"If we want to continue trading in this region at the usual levels, we must also contribute to its security architecture." The Conservative also announced that the British government wants to support Poland in providing MiG-29 jets.

“We will look very positively at a Polish request to fill in the gaps that have arisen. We already did that when Warsaw first handed over T-72 main battle tanks to Ukraine and we provided the Poland Challenger 2 tank. The same goes for fighter jets.”

So far, however, no request has been received from Warsaw, according to Heappey, who served as a major in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland before entering the House of Commons in 2015. The latest move by Poland is "a great moment," said Heappey, who visited Berlin on Friday for the Königswinter conference.

For the Ukrainians, the best solution would be jet types, which they are already familiar with. "For the rest of us, the question is to what extent we will replenish the military capabilities of those air forces that are giving up their equipment." At the beginning of February, London had already declared that it would train the Ukrainian military on its modern fighter jets on a long-term basis.

Last week, Rishi Sunak's government again demonstrated its support for Washington's China policy. In San Diego, California, the British Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese agreed to build nuclear-powered submarines for use by the Australian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region.

This was preceded by the founding of the trilateral “Aukus” security partnership in September 2021. Washington doesn't expect its allies to take exactly the same stance on China and Taiwan, Heappey stressed. But "the United States does not want to enter into a unilateral dispute with China."

And further: "The other Western partners - be they Australians, Japanese, Koreans, British, French, Germans or Dutch - should work in Southeast Asia and especially in the South China Sea for free shipping and a rule-based system," said the for the Secretary of State responsible for the Armed Forces. “In return, the United States is committed to NATO. I think this is the right deal.”

In Heappey's view, Germany, as a global export power, must have an interest in keeping shipping routes open, "which is why the German armed forces are undoubtedly a really important part of the international security architecture. That is something the German public would understand.”

Olaf Scholz's turning point is "an extraordinary moment". Because Germany, unlike France and the UK, does not need to maintain a costly nuclear arsenal, "the size of Germany's conventional armed forces will be incredible." The turning point was a groundbreaking moment for Europe's security, according to Heappey.

The Brit stressed that proposing timetables for Ukraine to end the war with Russia would not be helpful. “We haven't invested a full year and billions to challenge Ukraine's sovereignty. Vladimir Putin is watching very closely to see whether the Allies continue to support Kiev in such a way that Kiev decides its own path with sovereignty and within its own sovereign borders.”

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