Delivery to Ukraine possible
Poland wants to leave its Mig fighter jets to the USA
03/08/2022, 9:15 p.m
After some hesitation, Poland is ready to part with its Soviet-designed fighter jets. In exchange for US planes, Warsaw wants to deliver the planes to the US base in Ramstein. Whether and how the jets could then help Ukraine in anti-aircraft combat is still open.
Poland has decided to hand over all of its Mig-29 fighter jets to the US. The Soviet-made planes would be flown to the Ramstein base in Germany and then made available to the US in exchange for fighter jets with comparable capabilities, the Polish government said. At the same time, the Polish Foreign Ministry on its website called on all NATO allies and owners of Mig-29 jets to agree on a similar exchange.
Even after repeated requests from the Ukrainian government to make the aircraft directly available to Kyiv, Poland categorically ruled this out at the weekend. With the detour via the USA, the Mig-29 aircraft could possibly be delivered to Ukraine after all. Several US media had previously reported, citing government officials in Washington, that the US could supply the country with US-made F-16 fighter jets if Poland were to hand over fighter jets to Ukraine.
During a visit to Moldova a few days ago, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the US was negotiating with Poland about supplying fighter jets to Ukraine. Washington is examining how it can fill the gap “should Poland decide to deliver these aircraft”. He did not give a timetable. The Polish government initially rejected the plans. “Poland will neither send fighter jets to Ukraine nor allow its airports to be used,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Poland is making its contribution elsewhere.
Sharp warning from Russia
According to information from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Ukrainian Air Force only has old Soviet MiG-29 and Sukhoi-27 fighter aircraft for air defense and ground support, as well as Sukhoi-25 fighter aircraft. Ukrainian pilots are only trained for these types of aircraft. How many of the Ukrainian aircraft have already been destroyed in the Russian attacks is unclear.
According to IISS information, only a few former Warsaw Pact countries own Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets – Slovakia (14), Bulgaria (11) and Poland (28). Poland got the machines from Germany at the beginning of the 2000s for the symbolic sum of one euro. So far it is unclear whether Germany would have the right to veto the handover of the jets to the USA.
The Russian Defense Ministry had previously issued a sharp warning to Ukraine’s western neighbors not to even harbor Ukrainian warplanes. “The use of these countries’ airfield network as a base for Ukrainian military aircraft and their subsequent use against Russian forces could be seen as these countries’ involvement in the armed conflict,” the Russian Defense Ministry warned.