Poland to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine

Polish MIG-29 fighter jets at an air force base in Malbork, Poland in August 2021. Photo: Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday that Poland will transfer four of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days and plans to send others, as well, AP reports.

Why it matters: The transfer would make Poland the first NATO member to answer Kyiv's call for aircraft to help it further prevent Russia from securing air superiority over Ukraine.

  • The Ukrainian Air Force already operates MiG-29 jets, so they will likely be able to use the Polish aircraft right away.

What they're saying: Duda said Poland will transfer additional planes after they have been serviced, per AP.

  • Duda did not say whether other countries plan to join Poland in fulfilling Ukraine's request for aircraft. A Polish government spokesman said on Wednesday that other countries have also pledged MiGs to Ukraine, but he did not name them.

The big picture: Ukrainian officials have been calling on European countries and the U.S. to supply Ukraine with fighter jets or establish a "no-fly" zone over the country since the start of Russia's invasion.

  • In addition to Poland, Slovakia has said it would be willing to transfer its MiG-29 jet fighters as part of an international coalition and has urged its allies to make a similar pledge.
  • The U.S. in March 2022 rejected a plan from the Polish government to deploy Poland's entire fleet of MiG-29 jets to the U.S., which would have allowed the U.S. to transfer the Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine's military.

Go deeper: Israel approves export licenses for anti-drone systems for Ukraine

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