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Poland to urge NATO allies to send Western jets to Ukraine: president

06.04.2023 18:30
The Polish president has reiterated that Poland is ready to transfer all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the future, and added that Warsaw will also urge NATO allies to provide Kyiv with NATO-standard warplanes to bolster its defence effort against the Russian invasion.
Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Polish President Andrzej Duda.KPRP/Marek Borawski

Andrzej Duda made the declaration in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Fighter jets for Ukraine

Asked if Poland would transfer some of its US-made F-16 combat aircraft to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression, the president said that the issue was “complicated.” 

He added: “From the Polish viewpoint, the main thing is that we have relatively few F-16s.”

Duda stated: “First and foremost, we’ll be lobbying NATO countries to ensure that Ukraine is able to counterbalance Russia’s aerial power, that it has the necessary resources, that those countries who can give Ukraine their NATO-standard planes, do so.” 

According to the Polish president, of “key importance” to Ukraine is military assistance from the United States. 

Duda told Polish Radio: “Ukraine must have an air force that will be able to fight against the Russian air force, that will be able to oppose the Russian air force and negate Russia’s aerial advantage.”

He added: “For as long as possible we’ll be supplying Ukraine with MiG-29 fighter jets, which is good, because Ukraine used to have its own MiG-29s and Ukrainian pilots know how to fly them.”

The president cautioned that Poland had a limited number of MiG-29s and that they would “soon run out.” 

Poland is 'third-biggest supplier of weapons' to Ukraine

Duda declared: “We seek to support Ukraine in various ways.”

He added that during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Poland on Wednesday, “we drew a roadmap of Polish support for Ukraine.”

The president stressed: “We are supporting Ukraine in such a way as to make sure that the security and stability of equipment available to the Polish army is not in the least disrupted.”

Duda said in the interview that Poland was buying “super-advanced military equipment from South Korea,” including K2 tanks and K9 gun howitzers. 

“We’ll have many such deliveries in the coming years, so we can gradually transfer the older equipment to Ukraine,” he told Polish Radio. 

The president also said that Poland was Ukraine’s "third-biggest supplier of weapons," after the United States and Britain. 

He stated: “We are proud of it, but we are also very pragmatic about it. We realise that Ukraine must defend itself because it is also a condition of our security.”  

'Ukraine must return to its internationally recognised borders'

Asked how the war in Ukraine should end, the president said that “from the standpoint of Polish interests,” Russian troops “absolutely must leave Ukrainian territory, which means that Ukraine must return to its internationally recognised borders.”

“To be able to stand up to Russia, Ukraine needs military support,” he stressed. 

Poland is Ukraine’s 'natural partner’

Duda said that “Ukraine is aware of the benefits of good relations with Poland.”

He stated: “Today, assistance for Ukraine can swiftly travel from the northern Polish port of Gdańsk to Rzeszów in southeastern Poland, because there are already highways and expressways linking our ports with Rzeszów” near the Ukrainian border. 

The president added: “Ukraine can see that we are a very functional conveyor belt for them and there is no better support, whether in terms of day-to-day assistance or support for the reconstruction of Ukraine.” 

Duda also said that Poland was Ukraine’s “biggest economic partner” and "therefore a natural partner in the process of Ukraine’s integration with the European Union.”

'The world must be constantly reminded’ about Ukraine

The president stressed that with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine now continuing for more than 400 days, “the world must be constantly reminded about what is happening beyond our eastern border.”

He said that while Poland “is currently home to an estimated 3 million Ukrainians” and “we encounter them at every step, in shops, buses and public offices,” many people in Western Europe, “which is far from the war, see things differently from us.”

“And so we must keep mentioning this war, stressing that it’s dangerous, that it can spread, that it can create a precedent that will threaten the stability of Europe,” the Polish president concluded.

Ukraine's Zelensky visits Poland

Duda was speaking to Polish Radio a day after his Ukrainian counterpart made a one-day state visit to Warsaw, his first official trip to Poland since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of his country in February last year.

While in Warsaw on Wednesday, Ukraine's Zelensky met for talks with Poland's President Duda, and he also held talks with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, attended a Polish-Ukrainian business forum, and addressed the public outside the Polish capital's Royal Castle.

After his meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday, Duda said that Poland had already transferred eight MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, adding that his country was ready to provide all its MiG-29s in the future to help its neighbour repel Russia's invasion.

Thursday is day 407 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, prezydent.pl