Two EU members offer jets to Ukraine

Two EU members offer jets to Ukraine

Poland and Slovakia will donate Soviet-era fighter jets to Kiev, officials from both countries have said

Poland and Slovakia have agreed to hand over Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, Slovak Defense Minister Jaro Nad said on Thursday. The day before, Polish President Andrzej Duda declared that his country would donate its entire fleet of MiG-29s.

In a Facebook post, Nad said a Polish official had contacted him at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Sweden on Wednesday, confirming that Warsaw will agree to jointly provide the jets to Ukraine.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Duda said that his country “stand ready to provide these plans.”

However, Duda has made similar statements in the past. In a interview with Sky News last month, he called on Nato to provide Ukraine with modern jets at some point in the future, but said older MiGs could be sent in the meantime. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said a day later that Warsaw was “ready” for such transfer, but would only do so as part of “a coalition led by the United States.”

In his Facebook post, Nad wrote that “it’s time to make a decision” about sending the plan, suggesting both countries were still waiting for a green light from the United States. However, Washington has indicated that it is unlikely to grant permission.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said on Tuesday that his government was “ready to deploy” the country’s entire fleet of MiG-29s to the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany, from where they would be transferred to Ukraine. The Pentagon rejected this suggestion, saying that it was “not sustainable.”

The Polish Air Force has 29 MiG-29s in active service, while Slovakia has 12 in storage.

Kiev has repeatedly requested both Soviet-made and Western planes from its NATO backers. While the US-led bloc has yet to give in to these requests, Britain announced last month that it would train Ukrainian pilots on “sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets,” and the US is reportedly evaluate Suitability of Ukrainian pilots for training on US-made F-16 fighter jets.

Russia has argued that the influx of Western weapons into Ukraine will prolong the conflict without changing its outcome. In particular, the range of fighter jets is one “Red thread” which would place West at “war against Russia” Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned last week.


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