- Poland will become the first NATO member to supply Ukraine with about a dozen fighter jets.
- Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision fulfills a long-standing request from President Zelensky.
- The jet promise comes as Ukraine gears up for the spring strike expected from Russia.
Poland becomes the first NATO member to supply Ukraine with about 10 fighter jets to help Kiev resist Russian aggression.
Polish President Andrzej Duda announced in Warsaw on Thursday that four Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets would be sent to Kiev “within the next few days.” Associated Press.
The total number of aircraft supplied from Poland will range from 11 to 19, according to AP. The rest will be sent after repairs, Duda said at a press conference with the president of the neighboring Czech Republic, Petr Pavel.
“They are in their last year of functioning, but are in good working order,” Duda said of the jets.
This makes Poland the first NATO member to supply fighter jets to Ukraine. This plea to fighters long-standing request From Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Slovakia, Finland and the Netherlands have also previously said they would send some of their aircraft. guardian, However, it has not yet outlined when the plane will arrive in Ukraine.
The jet deliveries come as Ukraine gears up for what is expected to be a violent spring offensive from Russia.
After a year of heavy fighting, Ukraine is rapidly burning its dwindling ammunition supply – Western military aid is essential to launching an effective counterattack against Russia. The Washington Post reported.
But Poland’s decision to supply Ukraine with military jets may not force other allies to do the same. A White House representative said President Joe Biden has not changed his mind about not providing fighter jets to Ukraine. The United States fulfilled Zelensky’s request for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and his M1 Abrams tank.
According to the Associated Press, White House press secretary John Kirby said, “At this time, there is no change in our position on fighter jets. “That is our sovereign decision. That is our position. , other countries can talk about their own decisions.”
A senior U.S. Air Force official said in March that fighter jets were “worthless” over Ukraine because Russia and Ukraine have mastered long-range missile defenses, preventing them from providing air support close to enemy frontlines. said it was.
“The problem is that both Russia’s and Ukraine’s success in integrated air and missile defense has rendered many of these aircraft worthless,” said Gen. James Hecker, commander of the U.S. Air Force in Europe. told reporters at Air and Space. Military Association Symposium on March 6th.
However, Zelensky said in a speech to the British Parliament in February, “The sooner pilots get their hands on the plane, the sooner this Russian aggression can end and peace can be restored in Europe.” Washington Post report.
Duda’s representatives did not immediately respond to an Insider’s request for comment, which was sent outside of normal business hours.