Poland becomes the first NATO member to comply with Ukraine’s increasingly urgent requests for fighter jets.
President Andrzej Duda says Poland will give Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets in the coming days, a move that will make his country the first NATO member to comply with the Ukrainian government’s increasingly urgent requests for such aircraft.
Poland plans to send a total of 12 Soviet-made aircraft, Duda said Thursday.
“Firstly, literally within days, as far as I remember, we will hand over four fully working aircraft to Ukraine,” Duda said at a press conference in Warsaw with Czech Republic president Petr Pavel.
The rest of the fighter jets would be delivered after necessary checks are completed, Duda said.
“(They’re) prepared, maintained,” he said.
Duda did not say whether other countries would take the same step, although Slovakia has said it would send MiGs it does not use to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said other countries with MiGs had also committed them to Ukraine, but he did not name them.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has begged his allies to share their fighter jets, NATO countries have expressed hesitation.
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion last February, Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s it inherited during the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it’s unclear how many of them are still in service after more than a year of fighting.
Duda said the Polish Air Force would replace the planes it gives to Ukraine with South Korean-made FA-50 fighters and US-made F-35 jets.
Poland has sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.