Poland and Slovakia to Provide Ukraine with MiG-29 Fighter Jets
Poland has offered to provide Ukraine with Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets to help in its war against Russia, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki saying the transfer could happen within the next four to six weeks. Slovakia has also announced that it will supply Ukraine with its MiG-29s in a joint process with Poland.
The Polish president said the fighter jets given to Ukraine would be replaced with South Korean-made FA-50 jets and American-made F-35 warplanes. Poland has a total of 29 MiG-29 combat aircraft in its inventory, while Slovakia has 9 in stock and Bulgaria has 15.
The UK is looking into the potential of providing Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 fighter jets to European MiG-29 operators, with the intention of gifting the Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine. However, the Tranche 1 fleet will be retired by the RAF in 2025, which amounts to a significant maintenance drawback for any third-party operator considering taking up the UK’s offer.
Kirby, a spokesperson for the United States National Security Council, stated that the White House is backing Poland's move to give Ukraine MiG fighter jets, something Kyiv has been asking from its Western allies. He also said that Washington would encourage other countries to help Ukraine however they can, and if any other country takes the same sovereign decision to send fighter jets to Ukraine the U.S. will support it.
A political breakthrough on the issue appears to have emerged this month with Slovak defense minister Jaroslav Nad claiming he was told during a European Union meeting with Polish defense minister Mariusz Błaszczak that Warsaw will agree to a “joint process” allowing the two NATO countries to supply their respective MiG-29 fleets to Ukraine.
Poland has already sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and has pledged to send four MiG-29s within the “next few days”. However, it’s unclear if other countries will make the same move, although Slovakia has said it would send its disused MiGs to Ukraine.
At a British defense committee meeting, James Heappey, the UK armed forces minister, acknowledged the possibility of delivering Tranche 1 jets to Ukraine's MiG-29 operators, although he ruled out the direct delivery due to logistical concerns.
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