Poland to supply kyiv with MiG-29 fighters, a first for NATO | War in Ukraine
They will strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities, assured an air force spokesperson.< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">Poland will send to Ukraine four MiG-29 fighters, aircraft on which Ukrainian pilots are trained. (File photo)
Poland will deliver a first batch of four MiG-29 fighter-bombers to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on Thursday, which will be the first such delivery by a NATO member.
Kiev has repeatedly asked its Western allies to send it modern fighter-bombers, hoping to get American F-16s.
The Polish decision, however, does not change the American refusal to do the same, assured shortly after John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says Poland's move won't change states' stance -United. (File photo)
This does not change our analysis. […] It's not on the table, he told reporters, recalling that President Joe Biden had publicly opposed the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine.
Reacting to the Warsaw announcement, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said stated: MiGs will not solve problems; we need F-16s. But the MiGs will help strengthen our capabilities.
Russia had no immediate reaction to the Polish announcement, but the Kremlin has repeatedly said that Western arms deliveries to Kiev will only prolong the conflict and suffering of the civilian population, without changing Moscow's military objectives in Ukraine.
During his press conference, the Polish President added that other devices are in undergoing maintenance and will likely be transferred later.
We can therefore say that we are on the verge of sending these MiGs to Ukraine, he said, specifying that Poland has about fifteen MiGs, inherited in the 1990s of the Armed Forces of the German Democratic Republic.
These MiGs are still in service with the Polish Air Force. These are the last years of operation of these devices which still remain, for the most part, operational, President Duda further indicated.
He added that these MiG-29 are devices that Ukrainian pilots can use today without additional training.
On Thursday morning, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that Poland wants to transfer MiG-29s to Ukraine as part of a larger coalition of states.
Asked about the other countries in this coalition, he replied that it was Slovakia. He added that of course we are open to other participants. We absolutely want our activities to be carried out as part of a coalition.
MiGs transferred to Ukraine will be replaced by South Korean FA-50 aircraft and American F-35s.
Last year, Poland's neighbor Slovakia declared itself ready to discuss sending MiG-29 to help replace the losses suffered by Ukraine's current stocks, however without making a decision on this.
The Polish President's announcement comes after his defense minister said Polish counterintelligence had busted a Russian spy ring.
Mr. Blaszczak clarified on state radio that it was a spy group gathering information for those who attacked Ukraine.