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Friday, 17 March 2023

Poland becomes first NATO country to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine

Polish President, Andrzej Duda has announced he has agreed to send Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in coming days.


Duda on Thursday, March 16 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.


"In the coming days we will first transfer, if I remember correctly, four fully operational planes to Ukraine," Duda told a news conference in Warsaw.

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.

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