Saturday, April 1, 2023

NATO: Poland will be the first NATO member to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine – Usky News

WARSAW: Poland said Thursday it plans to deliver about a dozen MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, the first of an increasingly urgent request for the warplanes to defend itself against a Russian invasion of Kiev. become a NATO member.
Warsaw will hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes “within the next few days”, President Andrzej Duda said, and the rest need servicing but will be supplied later. The Polish word he used to describe the total number could mean between 11 and 19.
“They are in their last years of operation, but they are in good working condition,” Duda said.
He did not say whether other countries would follow suit, although Slovakia has said it will send its own unserviceable MiGs to Ukraine. Poland was also the first NATO nation to provide Ukraine with German-built Leopard 2 tanks.
On Wednesday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said some other countries had also pledged MiGs to Kiev, but did not identify them. Poland and Slovakia both indicated they were prepared to hand over their planes, but would do so as part of a wider international coalition.
Duda’s announcement caught the government in neighboring NATO member Germany on guard.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters, “So far, everyone agrees that this is not the time to send fighter jets.” “I have not yet received any confirmation from Poland that this has happened.”
The White House called Poland’s move a sovereign decision and commended Poles for continuing to “punch above their weight” in assisting Kiev, but the move would have no effect on President Joe Biden, who has called on the US F. Has resisted calls to provide -16. to Ukraine.
“At this time, there has been no change in our view on the fighter jets,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council. “It is our sovereign decision. That’s where we are, other nations can speak on their own decisions.
The White House said that Poland informed the US of its decision to provide the MiGs before Duda announced the move.
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s inherited in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it is unclear how many are in service after more than a year of fighting. are made in
Debate over providing fighter jets to non-NATO member Ukraine began last year, but NATO allies expressed concern about increasing the alliance’s role in the war. Indecisiveness continued even as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky increasingly vociferous pleas to Western backers to share their warplanes.
Duda made the announcement during a joint news conference in Warsaw with Czech President Petr Pavel.
Duda said Poland’s air force would replace the planes delivered to Ukraine with South Korean-made FA-50 fighter jets and US-made F-35 fighter jets.
Poland provided significant aid to Ukraine during the war. It is host to thousands of US troops and has taken in more Ukrainians than any other country during the refugee exodus hit by the Russian invasion.
The central European nation experienced centuries of Russian invasions and occupations and still fears Russia despite being a NATO member.


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