A forest dead drop

In the beginning of March [2022], Ukraine was in dire need of additional fighter jets. Poland was willing to provide them, but there was a catch. At that time Russia officially warned against using western airbases by Ukrainian aviation, threatening that it “may be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict.” Therefore, if planes were to be flown from Poland directly to Ukraine, in best case scenario they could be targeted by the enemy, in worst case – retaliation could struck Polish AB’s.  

Fully aware of that risk, Warsaw tried to convince US to put its weight behind the idea and therefore insure it against what ever Russia comes up with. But Washington was reluctant, sending mixed messages depending who have been asked. US didn’t want to back Poland in this act, neither did it send additional air cover of Polish AB’s. There was no clear answer and the time was running. 

More over, Washington told Zelensky that’s it’s Poland that is holding up the transfer of planes, which made Ukrainian president call president Duda asking – WTF? Unwilling to take the blame, Poland decided to force US hand, openly proposing that jets will fly over to Germany’s Ramstein AB, where they will be abandoned. Polish Pilots will go back home by bus or train and Warsaw won’t care who picks them up and where they are going to fly. If Polish AB’s could risk taking the Russian heat, why not German/American Ramstein?

That got Washington angry. Book quotes one of the ministers saying that Americans called asking “what kind of game are you playing with us?” to what they got bounced back with “how about you?”. Blinken said to the press that “there are difficulties” with this idea adding that each country can provide whatever help it wants. But that was Blinken, while NSA was staunchly against. Hardly a unified and strong message for Russia.

Therefore, Warsaw decided to look for a way to directly transfer the planes without giving Kremlin any reasonable anchor for reaction. 

One of the Polish ministers (Jakub Kumoch) from presidential office called his Ukrainian counterparts, and because he was respected and also on a very friendly level, asked them jokingly if they knew that in Polish language the name ‘Ukraina’ derives from ‘ukraść’, a Polish word for stealing? And if they still remember how to run a scheme. Nobody got offended (at least author doesn’t mention that), and the message was clear. Later on Ukraine was notified of certain parts being left on a specific location near the border. Completely unattended.

Next day parts were gone. Americans supposedly asked if Ukrainians managed to assemble them back into one piece, and if so, then where? The reply was “Yes, in the forest”. In fact, Ukrainians were doing exactly that in the beginning of war, operating from field airstrips in forested areas. Changing location after each 24 hours. With their skills, assembling a plane they were perfectly familiar with did not present any challenge.

While exact date was not provided, it seems that this whole operation was carried out around March/April 2022.

My private side note (book doesn’t mention any of that):

It’s a common knowledge among Polish domestic military experts, that Poland provided Ukraine with immensely more than what was officially reported thus seriously degrading its own military capabilities. 

Details? We don’t know all the numbers, but the talk is about as much as (!) ~350 T72/PT91 tanks, ~300 BMP-1, 72 Krab SPH, ~126 2S1 SPH, ~60 Grad MLRS, two dozens of S125 and S200 AD systems, and a lot of other stuff. Much of it came straight from Polish field units. This is probably one of the main reasons to why it’s being kept as a secret, and also an explanation to why Poland went on a buying spree kicking the spending to 4% of its GDP.


Comment: Another tale from the Parafianowicz book that I could not resist passing on. Not sure if this early forest transfer of MiG-29s was ever made public before. I can see a movie being made from this. I doubt F-16s would weather this kind of forest transfer as well as the MiG-29s. I would think it would be out of the question for the F-35, unless it possesses some kind of modularity I don’t know about. This and Poland’s other unacknowledged equipment transfers as detailed by Dąb-Mirowski may be just the tip of the iceberg. Other countries are probably lending assistance quietly and without fanfare. I’d actually be happy to not hear about any transfers until some Russian target goes bavovna. Surprise!


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16 Responses to A forest dead drop

  1. ked says:

    very cool. the Front Line Nato members (who have more functional governments than the US at the moment) know what must be done for their own security. & they have the capacity to make good on their joint interests. going into the winter, Ukraine has crossed the Dnipro & Russian losses (so Winning!) around Avdiivka range between 10:1 & 100:1.
    in business news, Northrop Grumman is exploring producing 120mm tank ammunition in Poland as that ally surges defence production capacity (Reuters).

  2. English Outsider says:

    A great people, the Poles. But show ’em a brick wall and they’ll ram their heads against it, just to teach it a lesson.

    This time round there’s a danger they’ll be left high and dry in the war against Russia. Seems they didn’t expect Washington to throw in the towel. Dumb, but there you are.

    But as said, a great people so they’ll survive somehow. They’ve been left high and dry often enough before but it never seems to bother them much.

    More worried about my Germans. They’re a lot softer than the Poles and Scholz is even dumber. Don’t know how they’ll manage now his Barbarossa II has come a cropper. Cover the country with windmills and pray, I suppose. But it’s a hell of a way to get to Net Zero.

    • LeaNder says:

      [J]ust to teach it a lesson. Loved that one. Your Germans? Hopefully that does not include me. Anyone but, if you don’t mind. Loved this one too: Cover the country with windmills and pray, I suppose. Why not?

      • English Outsider says:

        Different subject, LeaNder. You’re talking to an out and out Net Zero headbanger. The problem with the European approach to Net Zero is that we Europeans want to have our cake and eat it. We want a nil carbon footprint. Fine. But we also want to carry on comfortably as we are. I don’t think those two objectives are compatible.

        “My Germans” is a term of affection. Not any claim to ownership. Love the place itself. Think your politicians are the scum of the earth. Not as vicious as ours in the UK but you’re starting to run us close!

        On Ukraine, the German people – and that’s you and Bellatrix Baerbock both – have some uncomfortable truths to digest. You saw the Melnyk interview.

        • LeaNder says:

          “My Germans” is a term of affection.
          Now, sweetheart, that is of course a Revelation, an Epiphany. I think I prefer the latter. 😉

  3. Stefan says:

    The real shortage the Ukrainians are facing are people. Everyone who wants to serve has already joined up and is still serving, dead or wounded.


    • TTG says:


      The eye opener in that article is that Ukraine is still relying on a volunteer force. They have not yet reached the need to start the draft. Neither Ukraine nor Russia are near the point of running out of troops. They each lost millions in WWII and went on to win.

      • LeaNder says:

        on a volunteer force.

        President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law on Nov. 9 two bills extending martial law and general mobilization for another 90 days.

        The two measures have been prolonged until Feb. 14, 2024.

        The president first declared martial law and general mobilization on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

        This is the ninth time Ukraine has extended martial law since then.

        Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60, with some exceptions, are not allowed to leave the country as they may be called up for military service.

        The Digital Transformation Ministry’s head Mykhailo Fedorov said on Oct. 30 that the ministry was working on the so-called “smart mobilization” project aimed at recruiting military specialists on a voluntary basis.

        • TTG says:


          At some point, Kyiv will have to start drafting. The system is already set up, but it’s not been implemented yet. So far the volunteers and reservists are filling the ranks.

          • LeaNder says:

            ТТG, I am not following this closely. But I doubt that all the diverse stories about unwilling recruits and aggressive recruiters are Russian propaganda (war lore) only. … As I wrote before, I met some young males over here. None had the intention to return to fight the Russians.

            Concerning Stefan below, MDR one of the Eastern local television stations of our first public channel (Das Erste):

            Ukrainians subject to military service in Germany are not threatened with extradition for the time being
            It remains unclear who fled from military service. …

            According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, 203,640 male Ukrainian citizens who were between 18 and 60 years old and were therefore subject to military service have entered Germany since the start of the war. ..

            The Ukrainian constitution does not provide for conscientious objection
            In fact, conscientious objection is not explicitly provided for in the Ukrainian constitution. Martial law applies. The Kharkiv Human Rights Group confirmed this when asked. “For example, according to the law, military service through mobilization is compulsory for all persons between the ages of 18 and 60 who are eligible for military service. In certain cases, individuals may be granted a deferment of this service, for example if a person is a university student.” Single fathers are also legally allowed to avoid using weapons.

            The number of German conscientious objectors increased fivefold at the same time. Curiously enough. …

        • Stefan says:

          Ukrainian men are leaving anyway. In my regular trips to Europe I see many Ukrainian men in the UK, Germany, Ireland and elsewhere.

          I will be heading back in a couple of days. If they are planning on drafting I expect to see another influx of military aged Ukrainian men in Western Europe .

          Teenaged Ukrainian boys are also leaving, seems that they are being pulled into military service despite their age, so families are making a choice to send under aged boys abroad, alone, to avoid this.

    • English Outsider says:

      Stefan. You write the truth. “The real shortage the Ukrainians are facing are people. Everyone who wants to serve has already joined up and is still serving, dead or wounded.”

      And the link shows CNN slowly taking the lipstick off the pig. “The way it (mobilization) is done now – when they try to force someone to join, the way they hand out draft notices is very bad. For example, I am a platoon commander, why do I need a person who does not want to join the army?”

      Pregnant women at the front. Rumours that the Russian Ukrainians take the brunt of it. Millions upon millions having left this wreck of a country any way they can and more wanting to if they could. And still a two tier country. “The dance clubs are working, night taxis are working.”

      This is a country sliding ever faster into ruin, merely so the corrupt can continue to feed off Western aid to the last minute; and brave men fed into the meatgrinder, merely to allow the Washington neocons time to prepare the US electorate for the inevitable.

      I doubt CNN will take all the lipstick off the pig. Ever. I doubt they will ever confess that our proxies were solely at the mercy of internal US political calculations. That the political spin merchants will see cheerfully see thousands more lives thrown away, as long as some crony politician in the States can improve his chances of retaining votes. Such people are ghouls. They do their own country no service and squander Ukrainian lives so thoughtlessly.

      The US has lost this war. The politicians should accept that fair and square. Not hang it out to save face and that at such human cost.

  4. d74 says:

    The figures quoted give the idea that the total is really significant. By comparison, the numbers for Chieftain II and other Abrams are small potatoes.
    The question, which will not be answered, is: what has become of them? For one thing, they’re not easy weapons to peddle on the black market; for another, it seems impossible to me that the Russians have put them all out of action…

    I think this book in particular is a blow to Western morale, just by the two extracts from TTG. What else can you expect from the destroyers of a brick wall ((c) E. O.)!

    Ked :”functional governments ”
    Seen from afar, perhaps. Up close: they’re illusions.

    • aleksandar says:

      Some already destroyed;
      Some OOF due to lack of spare parts;
      Some in rear zone waiting for big and victorious UKR 2024 Spring Offensive;

    • ked says:

      d74, my full statement was “more functional…”. {as in “a more perfect union”} I’m a confirmed relativist. the closer one gets to anything, some meaningful degree of illusion and uncertainty is revealed.

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