Last Updated: March 17, 2023, 11:43 IST
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that deliveries of MiG 29 jets could be made in four to six weeks. (AFP)
The delivery of the sending fighter jets would mark a crucial development in the Ukraine conflict and would boost Kyiv’s defence against Russian missile strikes
Poland will send Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets in the coming days, the president said on Thursday, making it the first country to send warplanes to Ukraine.
One of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters, Warsaw has taken a leading role in persuading sometimes hesitant allies to provide Kyiv with heavy weaponry. It has said that any transfer of jets would be as part of a coalition.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said Warsaw would deliver an initial batch of four MiG-29 fighter jets to Kyiv.
“Firstly, literally within the next few days, we will hand over, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order,” Andrzej Duda told a news conference. “The rest are being prepared, serviced.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that deliveries could be made in four to six weeks. President Duda said that Poland had roughly 10-20 MiG 29 jets.
Ukraine has repeatedly urged Western allies to send warplanes, but so far no Western countries had committed to give jets to Kyiv.
The delivery of the sending fighter jets would mark a crucial development in the Ukraine conflict and would boost Kyiv’s defence against Russian missile strikes and drone attacks.
More Warplanes on the Way
NATO allies in the former communist east such as Poland and Slovakia have been particularly vocal supporters of Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Slovakia has also been considering whether to send MiG-29s to Ukraine but has yet to reach a decision.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that the debate about sending fighter jets was ongoing.
“This is something we’re discussing in the group of allied countries. It’s a big wish from Ukraine,” she said.
Poland has sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
US Mulling F-16 Supply
Reacting to the Poland’s move to send MiG-29 warplanes to Kyiv, the White House said that Warsaw’s decision does not alter the US decision against sending its own fighter aircraft to Ukraine.
“It doesn’t change our calculus with regards to F16s,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, referring to the US-built fighter jet. Poland’s move “does not affect, does not change” that.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to reporters on a visit to Niger, alluded to the heavy costs of US fighter jets.
“I think it’s a mistake to get focused on any particular weapons system at any given time,” Blinken said. He said it was important “not only making sure that the Ukrainians have the right weapons system but that they can use it.”
(With inputs from agencies)
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