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Poland to Send MiG-29s to Ukraine, U.S. Supports Decision

Poland is set to become the first NATO member to provide Ukraine with long-sought fighter jets since the Russian invasion began last year.[0] President Andrzej Duda announced at a news conference Thursday that four Soviet-designed MiG-29 warplanes are set to arrive in the coming days. So far, Western governments have chosen not to send fighter jets due to worries of the heightened tensions between NATO and Russia.[1]

In Poland, approximately 28 MiG-29s have been replaced by more sophisticated American aircraft, and they are aiming to acquire the state-of-the-art F-35s.[2] Duda said the four fully operational planes will be sent to Ukraine, and the remaining aircraft are being serviced and prepared for delivery.[3]

Despite the U.S. furnishing Ukraine with formidable weaponry, such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Javelin missiles, as well as pledging M1 Abrams tanks, President Joe Biden has yet to allow for the dispatching of F-16s.[4]

It is unknown how many of Ukraine's MiG-29s are still in operation after over a year of battling against Russia's full-scale invasion, as the country had several dozen of them when the Soviet Union fell.[0] Ukraine was the recipient of German-made Leopard 2 tanks from Poland, which was the first NATO nation to do so.[0]

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is exploring the option of providing Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 fighter jets to European operators of MiG-29s, with the purpose of gifting the Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine.[5]

The White House has publicly expressed their approval of Poland's provision of MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, a request that Kyiv had posed to their Western allies, according to John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council spokesman.[6] Washington declared that it would urge other countries to support Ukraine in any way possible, and if any other nation makes the sovereign decision to send fighter jets to Ukraine, the U.S. will back them.[6]

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.[7]

0. “Poland poised to become first NATO nation to supply Ukraine with fighter jets” Express, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1747297/ukraine-jets-russia-zelensky-poland

1. “Poland to send Ukraine fighter jets; U.S. released footage of apparent drone collision” WBT, 16 Mar. 2023, https://wbt.com/540101/poland-to-send-ukraine-fighter-jets-u-s-released-footage-of-apparent-drone-collision/

2. “Poland will send fighter jets to Ukraine, the first NATO country to do so” MPR News, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/03/16/poland-will-send-fighter-jets-to-ukraine-the-first-nato-country-to-do-so

3. “Poland to launch MiG-29 deliveries to Ukraine within days” Defense News, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2023/03/16/poland-could-launch-mig-29-deliveries-to-ukraine-within-days/

4. “Poland breaks with NATO allies by pledging to send fighter jets to Ukraine” erienewsnow.com, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/48561860/poland-breaks-with-nato-allies-by-pledging-to-send-fighter-jets-to-ukraine

5. “Ukraine gets its fighter jets: Polish MiG-29s to arrive within ‘days’” Breaking Defense, 16 Mar. 2023, https://breakingdefense.com/2023/03/ukraine-gets-its-fighter-jets-polish-mig-29s-to-arrive-within-days

6. “U.S. endorses Poland's decision of providing Ukraine MiG jets” TVP World, 14 Mar. 2023, https://tvpworld.com/68496694/us-endorses-polands-decision-of-providing-ukraine-mig-jets

7. “To help Ukraine, UK explores supplying Eurofighter Typhoons to European MiG-29 operators” Breaking Defense, 14 Mar. 2023, https://breakingdefense.com/2023/03/to-help-ukraine-uk-explores-supplying-eurofighter-typhoons-to-european-mig-29-operators

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