WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president mentioned Thursday that his nation plans to provide 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 mentioned Poland would hand over 4 of the Soviet-made warplanes “throughout the subsequent few days” and that the remainder wanted servicing and can be provided later. The Polish phrase he used to explain their quantity can imply between 11 and 19.
“They’re within the final years of their functioning however they’re in good working situation,” Duda mentioned of the plane.
Duda didn’t say whether or not different nations can be making the identical transfer, though Slovakia has said it would send its disused MiGs to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Polish authorities spokesman Piotr Mueller mentioned another nations with MiGs additionally had pledged them to Kyiv, however he didn’t identify them.
Whereas Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded for Western supporters to share fighter jets, NATO allies have expressed hesitancy.
Earlier than Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine had a number of dozen MiG-29s it inherited within the collapse of the Soviet Union, nevertheless it’s unclear what number of of them stay in service after greater than a 12 months of combating.
The controversy over whether or not to offer non-NATO nation Ukraine with fighter jets was initiated over a 12 months in the past, however NATO has been cautious of constructing the conflict escalate.
Duda made the announcement throughout a joint information convention in Warsaw with the visiting Czech president, Petr Pavel.
Duda mentioned Poland’s air power would exchange the planes it offers to Ukraine with South Korea-made FA-50 fighters and American-made F-35s.
Poland was additionally the primary NATO nation handy German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, final month.
Poland is an important ally within the Ukraine disaster. It’s internet hosting hundreds of American troops and is taking in additional individuals fleeing the conflict in Ukraine than every other nation, within the midst of the biggest European refugee disaster in a long time.
It has suffered invasions and occupations by Russia for hundreds of years and nonetheless fears Russia regardless of being a member of NATO.
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