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Poland to send four MiG-29 jets to Ukraine within days: president

16.03.2023 23:30
Poland will transfer four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days to help its neighbour fight Russia's invasion, the Polish president has said.
Polish MiG-29 fighter jets.
Polish MiG-29 fighter jets.PAP/Adam Warżawa

Andrzej Duda made the announcement in Warsaw on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

x Andrzej Duda.   PAP/Paweł Supernak

Speaking to the media after talks with Czech President Petr Pavel, Duda said: “When it comes to the MiG-29 aircraft, which are still in service to defend Polish airspace, a decision has been made at the highest levels, and we can say confidently that we are sending MiGs to Ukraine.”

He declared: “In the coming days, we will hand over four planes to Ukraine. The remaining machines are being serviced and prepared for handover.”

The Polish president explained: “We have a dozen or so MiGs that we got in the 1990s handed down from the German Democratic Republic and they are functional and play a part in the defence of our airspace. They are at the end of their operational lives but are still functional.”

Duda stressed that Ukrainian pilots were familiar with MiG-29 jets and would be able to operate them “immediately, without any additional training.”

He also said that Poland would replace its fleet of Soviet-designed jets with new FA-50 aircraft from South Korea, the first of which are expected to arrive by the end of the year, followed by squadrons of US-made F-35 aircraft.

On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country could transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the next four to six weeks to help Kyiv fight Russia's invasion.

His announcement followed a declaration from Duda, who told US broadcaster CNN last week that Poland was prepared to provide its remaining MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine as part of an international coalition.

Poland’s move 'doesn’t change our calculus with respect to F-16s': US

The White House commented on Thursday that Poland's move to transfer MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine was a "sovereign decision" that would not spur US President Joe Biden to provide US F-16 aircraft, according to CNN.

Biden had earlier said that shipments of US fighter jets to Ukraine “aren't in the cards at the moment,” though he stopped short of ruling them out entirely, according to news reports.

John Kirby, a top official at America’s National Security Council, said on Thursday that the pledge from Poland to send four fighters to Ukraine “doesn’t change our calculus with respect to F-16s," the PAP news agency reported.

Kirby told reporters: "These are sovereign decisions for any country to make and we respect those sovereign decisions."

John Kirby John Kirby   PAP/EPA/Bonnie Cash / POOL

Thursday was day 386 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, CNN, The New Voice of Ukraine