HomeUS News updatePoland becomes first NATO member to grant Ukraine fighter jets

Poland becomes first NATO member to grant Ukraine fighter jets

Poland’s president said Thursday that his country plans to deliver about a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, becoming the first NATO member to meet the Ukrainian government’s increasingly urgent requests for the warplanes.

President Andrzej Duda said that Poland would hand over four Soviet-built warplanes “within the next few days” and that the rest needed servicing and would be supplied later. The Polish word he used to describe his number could mean between 11 and 19.

“They are in the last years of their life, but they are in good working condition,” Duda said of the aircraft.

Duda did not say whether other countries would follow suit, although Slovakia has said it will send its decommissioned MiGs to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said that some other countries had also pledged them to Kiev along with the MiGs, but did not name them.

While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Western backers to share the fighter jets, NATO allies have expressed hesitation.

Prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s inherited from the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it is unclear how many of them remain in service after more than a year of fighting. Are.

Debate about providing fighter jets to non-NATO country Ukraine began a year ago, but NATO has been wary of escalating the war.

Duda made the announcement during a joint press conference with Czech President Petr Pavel in Warsaw.

Duda said Poland’s air force would replace the planes delivered to Ukraine with South Korean-made FA-50 fighter jets and US-made F-35 fighter jets.

Poland was also the first NATO country to hand over German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine last month.

Poland is an important ally in the Ukraine crisis. It is hosting thousands of US troops and taking in more people fleeing war in Ukraine than any other country in the midst of the biggest European refugee crisis in decades.

It has withstood centuries of invasion and occupation by Russia and still fears Russia despite being a member of NATO.



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