Poland to send MiG-29s to Ukraine within weeks amid Russia tensions

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Poland to send MiG-29s to Ukraine within weeks amid Russia tensions

Poland has announced that it will transfer a number of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine within four to six weeks, as part of a joint effort to support Kiev’s defense capabilities amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday that the decision was made in consultation with the United States and NATO allies, and that Warsaw was seeking assurances from Washington that it would be able to replace the jets with new ones from the U.S. in the future.

The MiG-29s are Soviet-era aircraft that Poland inherited from the former Warsaw Pact and has been modernizing over the years. Poland currently has 23 MiG-29s in service, along with 48 F-16s and 18 Su-22s. Morawiecki did not specify how many jets would be sent to Ukraine, but said they would be “combat-ready”.

The announcement comes as Ukraine faces a renewed threat of a Russian invasion, following a massive buildup of troops and weapons along its borders and in occupied Crimea. Russia has also launched several missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in recent weeks, killing dozens of civilians and soldiers.

Ukraine has been seeking more military assistance from its Western partners, especially in terms of air defense and anti-tank systems. Last weekend, reports emerged that two Ukrainian pilots were in the U.S. for an evaluation of their ability to fly F-16s, sparking speculation that Washington might provide Kiev with some of its surplus jets.

Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine, has been one of its staunchest allies and supporters since the 2014 revolution that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Poland has provided Ukraine with humanitarian aid, military training, medical equipment and political backing.

Morawiecki said that Poland’s gesture was a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and a message to Russia that it would not tolerate any further aggression. He also urged other NATO members to increase their presence and support in the region, saying that “the security of Europe depends on the security of Ukraine”.

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