Poland will send four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days -Dlight News

Poland will send four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days

Poland has pledged to send four of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine “in the coming days,” in what would be the first shipment of combat aircraft marking a significant new level of Western military support for Kiev.

Fighter jets have been a central demand from Western allies since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, but NATO countries have so far been reluctant to provide them, given the growing threat from Moscow in response.

Poland and Slovakia have previously said they are willing to supply Kiev with some of their Soviet-designed MiG-29 aircraft, but only as part of a “coalition” of Western countries, and backed by promises from other NATO states to replace them. That jet.

“In the coming days, we are handing over four aircraft in full operational order,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a news conference with his Czech counterpart, Petr Pavel.

“The rest are being serviced, prepared and will probably be handed over gradually,” Duda added.

While Ukraine has asked for US-made jets, such as F-16s, allies have pointed out that the country’s pilots are trained to fly MiGs and that flying Western planes would require months of training. The UK pledged to train Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard planes when President Volodymyr Zelensky visited London in February.

Poland first tried to send jets to Ukraine a year ago but the plan collapsed after it became clear that Washington did not support the move.

In addition to pilot training, Western officials have warned that NATO-compatible aircraft require additional refueling, servicing and weapons capabilities that will also need to be deployed.

The UK has previously indicated it is prepared to send Typhoons to eastern European countries to backfill any contribution it makes to Ukraine’s fleet of fighter jets – a point recently made by junior defense minister James Happy at a parliamentary hearing last week.

Asked if that was something the UK was looking at, Happy replied: “Yes, absolutely it is . . . there are a number of countries in NATO that still operate the MiG-29. And the ability to backfill countries is very clear . . . It’s a very lively debate.”

Happy added that when Zelensky visited London, “he focused very clearly on the jet. We heard it. We understand the needs. “

Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, responded on Twitter Duda’s comments on Thursday accompanied four fighter jet emojis after announcing “great news” “coming soon” from Poland on Monday.

The Kremlin has previously said that discussions about providing fighter jets to Ukraine show that the West is getting closer to waging a direct war against Russia.

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