Warsaw. Poland announced on Thursday that it plans to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, which is facing Russian aggression. With this, it will become the first NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) country to meet Ukraine’s demand for immediate combat aircraft to deal with Russia.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said Warsaw would deliver four Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine “in the next few days”. He said that other fighter jets are in need of repair, so they will be supplied later. Duda indicated that Poland could provide Ukraine with 11 to 19 MiG-29 fighter jets.
“These aircraft are in the last years of their operational life, but they are in good condition,” he said. The Polish president did not comment on whether other NATO countries would follow in Warsaw’s footsteps by providing Ukraine with fighter jets. However, Slovakia has also expressed its intention to provide its unused MiG fighter jets to Ukraine.
Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said on Wednesday that several other countries have also committed to supply MiG fighters to Ukraine, but did not name them. Earlier, Poland became the first NATO country to provide German-made Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine. Poland’s neighboring NATO member Germany appeared to be taken aback by Duda’s announcement.
Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters, “By now everyone agreed that this was not the right time to send fighter jets.” Poland has not yet confirmed to us that it plans to do so.” Meanwhile, the White House termed Poland’s move as a “sovereign decision” and lauded it for consistently taking decisions above its stature. However, he said that this praise should not be seen as a change in US President Joe Biden’s stance on not providing US F-16A fighter jets to Ukraine.