by Ethan Percival
In a surprising turn of events, Poland recently announced they will send four MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in a press conference in Warsaw, making Poland the first NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member to do so. The announcement was made by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who stated “In the coming days we will hand over four planes to the Ukraine, remaining machines are being serviced and prepared for handover. We will replace them with deliveries of South Korean FA-50s and American F-35s.” Additionally, he explained that several other MIG-29 are currently under repair, and implied that they would also be slated for Ukraine’s use as well.
Shortly thereafter, the Prime Minister of Slovakia announced that they would be joining the Polish in supplying fighter jets to Ukraine with a donation of their remaining 13 MIG-29 aircraft, making them the second country to do so.
The move comes shortly after last month’s widespread pledge to send modern Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine with many countries in NATO and the European Union announcing their intentions to transfer some of their stocks of Leopard 2 tanks to bolster Ukraine’s aging armor. The result of which gave Ukraine an estimated total of nearly 100 Leopard 2 Tanks, 31 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and several modern tanks from several other countries.
The donation of these fighter jets could also begin a similar trend in NATO with more countries emboldened to send aircraft or other heavier weapons to Ukraine. Aircraft like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, an American-made fighter jet, which many European countries and the US possess large supplies of. In fact, two Ukrainian pilots are currently being assessed for training on the F-16 in the US as of this moment. While no announcements of the transfer of F-16 have been made as of now, the Polish and Slovakian donations of MIG-29s may pressure other NATO and European Union countries to follow their example.