Poland to Provide MiG-29s to Ukraine, US to Remain Neutral
Poland is set to become the first NATO country to provide warplanes to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began last year. On Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that Poland plans to give Ukraine about a dozen Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets. The first four are expected to arrive in the near future. Western governments have thus far declined to send fighter jets out of concern over escalating tensions between NATO and Russia.
The US has so far provided Ukraine with powerful weapons such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Javelin missiles and has agreed to send Kyiv M1 Abrams tanks. Joe Biden, the President, has chosen not to give the go-ahead for the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. On Thursday, the White House declared that Poland's determination to dispatch the warplanes is a “sovereign choice” that won't motivate President Joe Biden to dispatch F-16 planes.
The US presented video it alleged to show Russian aircrafts releasing fuel over a US drone in international airspace and allegedly hitting the drone, refuting Russia's statement that it had nothing to do with the drone's destruction on Tuesday. John Kirby, a spokesperson from the White House, said on Thursday that President Duda's declaration had no effect on the U.S.'s decision regarding F-16s.
Presidential records indicate that the Polish Air Force's fleet contains between 11 and 19 MiG-29s. In 2018, Slovakia placed an order with the US government for 14 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 jets, which will replace its existing MiG-29 fleet. The first aircraft is anticipated to be delivered in the coming year.
This week, Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, declared that a successful counteroffensive by Ukraine necessitates fighter jets. Reznikov declared that having combat aircraft sooner will result in more lives being saved.
Nine individuals have been apprehended by Polish authorities, suspected of “cooperating” with Russia's FSB secret service agency.
When asked to comment on Poland's intentions to transfer MiG-29s to Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said these were sovereign decisions that countries should make.
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