Poland to send first four MiG-29 jets to Ukraine in coming days, says Duda
MiG-29 jets (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo)
Poland will transfer the first four Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days, Poland’s Rzeczpospolita quoted Polish President Andrzej Duda as saying on March 16.
The decision was made at the state level, the Polish leader said at a joint press conference with his Czech counterpart, Petr Pavel.
Poland currently has “a dozen of these MiGs” it received from the then German Democratic Republic in the early 1990, said Duda.
He did not elaborate on how many MiGs in total Poland would send to Ukraine.
“We’re handing over four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order within the next few days,” Duda said.
Poland expects that its fleet of aircraft will be replenished and modernized over the next few years.
“The rest of the jets are being serviced and prepared. They will be replaced by new FA-50 aircraft from South Korea, the first of which we expect by the end of the year, followed by squadrons of F-35 aircraft.”
Poland will also have an "additional Air Force" with state-of-the-art fighter jets.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said that providing Ukraine with Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets would be a major help, but they are unlikely to become game-changing at the front.
“Yes, of course, this is a major help,” he said on Ukraine’s national television.
“This will beef up our tactical air force. But with the radar system and the hardware equipment it has, it will change almost nothing.”
Ukraine needs a modern multi-purpose aircraft to gain air superiority and to strike ground targets, said Ihnat.
At the same time, he stressed that those fighter jets that would be handed over to Ukraine had undergone “a certain upgrade.”
Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Warsaw could supply Ukraine with MiG-29 fighter jets in the next four to six weeks.
President Duda announced that Warsaw could give all of its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. On March 9, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad’ confirmed his country was mulling over a the transfer of aircraft jointly with Poland. According to open sources, Poland has 22 MiG-29 fighter jets.
Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said on March 15 that Poland had received positive signals from several countries regarding the transfer of Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
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