Poland to be 1st NATO member to present Ukraine fighter jets

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president stated Thursday that his nation plans to present Ukraine round a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets, which might make it the primary NATO member to satisfy the Ukrainian authorities’s more and more pressing requests for warplanes.

President Andrzej Duda stated Poland would hand over 4 of the Soviet-made warplanes “inside the subsequent few days” and that the remaining wanted servicing and can be equipped later. The Polish phrase he used to explain the entire quantity can imply between 11 and 19.

“They’re within the final years of their functioning, however they’re in good working situation,” Duda stated of the plane.

He didn’t say whether or not different nations would comply with swimsuit, though Slovakia has stated it will ship its disused MiGs to Ukraine. Poland additionally was the primary NATO nation to offer Ukraine with German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

On Wednesday, Polish authorities spokesman Piotr Mueller stated another nations additionally had pledged MiGs to Kyiv, however he didn’t title them. Each Poland and Slovakia had indicated they had been prepared at hand over their planes, however solely as a part of a wider worldwide coalition doing the identical.

Germany’s authorities appeared to have been caught off guard by Duda’s announcement. “To date, everybody has agreed that it’s not the time to ship fighter jets,” German Protection Minister Boris Pistorius advised reporters. “I don’t have any affirmation from Poland but that this has occurred.”

Earlier than Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine had a number of dozen MiG-29s it inherited within the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it surely’s unclear what number of of them stay in service after greater than a yr of combating.

The controversy over whether or not to offer non-NATO nation Ukraine with fighter jets began final yr, however NATO allies expressed concern about escalating the alliance’s function within the battle. The hesitation continued at the same time as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made more and more vocal pleas for Western supporters to share their warplanes.

Duda made the announcement throughout a joint information convention in Warsaw with the visiting Czech president, Petr Pavel.

Duda stated Poland’s air pressure would substitute the planes it provides to Ukraine with South Korea-made FA-50 fighters and American-made F-35s.

Poland has offered Ukraine with essential help throughout the battle. It’s internet hosting 1000’s of American troops and has taken in additional Ukrainians than another nation throughout the refugee exodus sparked by the Russian invasion.

The central European nation skilled Russian invasions and occupations for hundreds of years and nonetheless fears Russia regardless of being a NATO member.

___ Observe AP’s protection of the battle at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2023 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.