Poland will ship 4 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine “within the subsequent few days,” President Andrzej Duda mentioned Thursday.
Poland is the primary nation to formally decide to sending fight planes to Ukraine, which Kyiv says it urgently must repel the Russian invasion, which has turn out to be a brutal conflict of attrition within the japanese Donbas area.
“We might be handing over 4 totally operational planes,” Duda mentioned at a joint press convention with Czech President Petr Pavel, in keeping with French newswire AFP.
Further planes that are “at the moment below upkeep” might be “handed over steadily,” Duda added, and Poland will change the MiGs with American-made F-35s and South Korean FA-50 fighters.
After convincing its Western allies to provide Ukraine with dozens of tanks following a months-long diplomatic marathon, Kyiv has been intensively lobbying its companions in latest weeks to ship fashionable fighter jets.
As he toured European capitals final month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made repeated pleas to the U.Okay. and France to supply fashionable jets to spice up his nation’s getting older air power, which is usually made up of Soviet-era planes.
But, Kyiv’s allies have been cautious of handing over the newest era of fight planes, akin to American F-16s, out of worry it could solely serve to additional escalate the battle.
To date, the U.Okay. has began coaching Ukrainian pilots as a “first step” towards sending jets, whereas the U.S. has welcomed two pilots on an American airbase to evaluate their flying expertise, however is not going to allow them to function American F-16s.
In the meantime, international locations akin to France and the Netherlands have expressed openness to the thought, however steered clear of creating any formal commitments.
The Polish authorities — considered one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 — had already signaled its intention to ship jets in latest days.