Poland announced that it will send warplanes to Ukraine: it is the first NATO country to do so

Poland announced that it will send warplanes to Ukraine

Poland plans to deliver a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, the Polish president said Thursday, becoming the first NATO member country to respond to the Ukrainian government’s urgent request for aircraft.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country will hand over four of the Soviet-made planes in the coming days and the rest must be examined for later delivery.

Duda did not clarify if other countries will do the same, although Slovakia has announced that it will send its disused MiGs to Ukraine.

Duda said that Poland currently has a dozen MiG aircraft that it inherited from the former German Democratic Republic.

“These MiGs are still in service with the Polish air force. They are in their last few years of operation, but for the most part they are still running at full capacity,” said Duda.

The MiGs transferred to Ukraine will be replaced at home by South Korean FA-50 jets bought by Poland, followed by US F-35s.

Earlier on Thursday, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had said that Poland wanted to transfer MiG-29 jets to Ukraine “within the framework of a broader coalition of countries.”

Asked about the countries in this coalition, Blaszczak mentioned Slovakia, but added that “of course, we are open to others.”

“We absolutely want to carry out our activity within the framework of a coalition,” he added.

Last year, Poland’s neighbor Slovakia had said it was willing to discuss sending MiG-29 jets to help replace losses from Ukraine’s current reserves.

However, since then no final decision has been made.

Duda made the Polish announcement after holding talks with his Czech counterpart Petr Pavel, a former NATO general.

The president’s comments came after his defense minister earlier said that Polish counterintelligence had dismantled a Russian spy ring.

Blaszczak told Polish public radio that it was an “espionage group… collecting information for those who attacked Ukraine.”