Polish President, Andrzej Duda has Thursday officially announced he has agreed to send four Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in coming days and still plans to send others.
Duda said that Poland‘s air force would replace the planes it gives to Kyiv with South Korean-made FA-50 jets and American-made F-35s.
The transfer would make Poland the first NATO member to have delivered the fighter jets, as Kyiv appeals for warplanes to fight Russian forces.
The Ukrainian Air Force already operates MiG-29 jets, so they will likely be able to use the Polish aircraft right away.
Duda told a news conference in Warsaw that Poland will transfer additional planes after they have been serviced.
Kyiv has been asking for fighter jets to beef up its air power as the war enter its second year, but there’s no sign yet that the United States or the UK will send warplanes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in surprise visits last month to the UK, France and Brussels, home to the European Union institutions, made appeals for powerful military equipment.
He told the British Parliament to give Kyiv ‘wings for freedom’ by sending combat aircraft to help turn the tide against Russia’s offensive.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said ‘nothing is off the table’ after Zelenksyy asked for the jets.
In Paris, Zelenskyy said: ‘The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we can return to peace in Europe.’
Ukraine’s air force is reportedly familiar with the planes and could fly them immediately without additional training.
The US has not made any comments on whether it would give the fighter jets to Ukraine or allow other countries to re-export their own F-16 aircrafts.
However, a Polish government spokesman said on Wednesday that other countries have also pledged MiGs to Ukraine, but he did not name them.