( AP )
Poland’s president says his country plans to give Ukraine a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets, becoming the first NATO member country to fulfill the Ukrainian government’s increasingly urgent requests for warplanes.
President Andrzej Duda said Thursday that Poland would hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes in the coming days and the rest need to be checked and would be supplied later.
Duda did not say if other countries would be making the same move, although Slovakia has said it would send its disused MiGs to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said some other countries with MiGs also had pledged them to Kyiv, but he did not name them.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded for Western supporters to share fighter jets, NATO allies have expressed hesitancy.
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine s had several dozen MiG-29s it inherited in the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it’s unclear how many of them remain in service after more than a year of fighting.
Duda made the announcement during a joint news conference in Warsaw with the president of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel.
Duda said Poland’s air force would replace the planes it gives to Ukraine with South Korea-made FA-50 fighters and American-made F-35 warplanes.