Poland is ready to deliver its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine as part of an international coalition, President Andrzej Duda told CNN in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, adding that Ukrainian pilots will need to be trained to operate them.
Poland was the first country to deliver its Leopard tanks to war-torn Ukraine. After the first batch of four, the other 10 were to be sent as soon as this week. The pledge to send fighter jets is another step in Warsaw’s military support to its Eastern neighbour.
“The remaining part of the MiG-29s which we have in Poland, which are operational, and which are now serving in our Air Force – we stand ready to provide those planes, and I’m sure that Ukraine would be ready to use those planes instantly because Ukraine has got pilots able to operate those machines, right now,” Duda told CNN’s Becky Anderson during his visit to the United Arab Emirates.
Duda added he believes Ukraine’s armed forces would want to be “up to the NATO standard” and so would want to use F-16 jets. For that purpose, Ukrainian pilots will have to be trained to operate them, he insisted.
Citing his earlier conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Duda underlined that Ukraine’s “key requirement” at the moment was long-range artillery, as reported by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
The number of fighters Poland would donate to war-torn Ukraine “would not be large” and certainly not as big as the number of tanks, Paweł Szrot, chief of the president’s cabinet, Radio Plus reported on Thursday.
Poland would be eager to donate the jets “as part of some larger international coalition so that Ukraine can really feel that support.” said Szrot.
(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)