SLOVAKIA ALSO MULLING PLANES
There was no immediate comment from Moscow on the Polish decision. But the Kremlin has repeatedly said that Western arms supplies to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict, increase Ukrainian civilian suffering and have no impact on Russia’s military aims.
Poland’s move to become the first country to send MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine does “not change” the US decision against sending its own warplanes to Kyiv, the White House said.
“It doesn’t change our calculus with regards to F16s,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, referring to the US-built fighter jet.
Earlier Thursday, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had said Poland wanted to transfer MiG-29 planes to Ukraine “within the framework of a larger coalition of countries”.
Asked about the countries in the coalition, Blaszczak mentioned Slovakia but added that “of course we are open to others.”
“We absolutely want to conduct our activity within the framework of a coalition,” he added.
Last year, Poland’s neighbour Slovakia had said it was willing to discuss sending MiG-29 planes to help replace losses to Ukraine’s current stocks.
However no final decisions have been taken.
Duda made the Polish announcement following talks with visiting Czech counterpart Petr Pavel, a former NATO general.
The MiGs transferred by Warsaw to Ukraine will be replaced at home with South Korean FA-50 planes bought by Poland, followed by American F-35s.
The president’s comments also came after his defence minister had earlier said Polish counterintelligence had dismantled a Russian spy ring.