Poland becomes first NATO member to give Ukraine fighter jets


Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Thursday that his country plans to give Ukraine around a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets — making Poland the first NATO member to fulfill the Ukrainian government’s urgent requests for warplanes. President Duda said Poland would hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes “within the next few days” and that the rest needed servicing and would be supplied later (the Polish word he used to describe their number can mean between 11-19).

Duda said of the aircrafts: “They are in the last years of their functioning but they are in good working condition,” adding that Poland’s air force would replace the planes it gives to Ukraine with South Korea-made FA-50 fighters and American-made F-35s.  He did not say whether other countries would be making the same move, although Slovakia has claimed it would send its disused MiGs to Ukraine. Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said some other countries (who he did not name) with MiGs also had pledged them to Kyiv.

NATO allies have expressed hesitancy to share fighter jets, despite pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Western supporters.  Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s before Russia’s invasion that it inherited in the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it’s unclear how many of them remain in service after more than a year of fighting.Duda made the announcement during a joint news conference in Warsaw with the visiting Czech president, Petr Pavel.

Editorial credit: Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.com

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