Poland to send at least four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

Poland is to send Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets in the coming days, it has been announced, with more to follow later.

“Firstly, literally within the next few days, we will hand over, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday.

“The rest are being prepared, serviced.”

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It makes Poland the first NATO member country to fulfil the Ukrainian government’s increasingly urgent requests for warplanes.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly said his country needs jets to effectively fight back against Russia’s invasion.

Both the UK and US have ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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Why won’t the UK send jets?

Western nations remain unwilling to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, despite the clear advantage they would bring, because of a lingering fear that it will precipitate a widening of the conflict beyond Ukraine’s borders.

There are concerns sending such technology could escalate the conflict and be viewed by Russia as NATO countries entering the war by proxy.

President Duda did not say if other countries would be making the same move, although Slovakia has said it would send its disused MiGs to Ukraine.

Poland has been among the most active allies pushing for more arms to be supplied to Ukraine.

It will hand over four older Soviet-era MiG-29s to begin with. The rest need to be checked and would be supplied later.

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Putin is trying to ‘exhaust the West’

President Duda has previously told Sky News Ukraine will need “modern planes, fighter jets in the future” to see off Russian aggression.

But he said it could not happen for some time because Ukrainian pilots require training.

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President Duda said Poland had roughly 10-20 MiG-29 jets.

Poland has already sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Asked last week how many MiG-29 planes Warsaw might supply, the head of the president’s office, Pawel Szrot, said it would “certainly not” be as many as 14.