Warsaw expects Washington to compensate the aircraft with “used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities.”
Poland has agreed to the “immediate and free” transfer to the US of all its Mig-29 fighters, the European country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.
The fighters will relocate to the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany. In return, Poland asks the US to provide “used aircraft with the corresponding operational capabilities” and indicates that it is ready to “immediately establish the conditions of purchase” of the aircraft.
Although the purpose of the transfer is not explicitly detailed in the statement, the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, has confirmed to Congress that the decision has been made after “a couple of days of consultations about of […] a request from the Ukrainians to receive the planes” in the midst of the Russian military operation in the country.
***URGENT*** Poland ready to immediately deliver for free all its Mig-29 jets to the @NATO Ramstein Air Base and to pay a negotiated price for their replacement. This is our solidarity & contribution! Decision by @AndrzejDuda & the @MorawieckiM Gov’t.https://t.co/aYmRtJWgAn
— Jakub Kumoch (@JakubKumoch) March 8, 2022
The handover was first announced on March 1 by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which reported that the donor countries include Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The Polish side should supply 28 Mig-29 fighters, he said. However, last Sunday the Polish Foreign Ministry refuted that statement.
Despite this position, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last Sunday that NATO member countries have a “green light” to supply Ukraine with warplanes. He noted that Washington was already working with Polish officials to ” meet their needs ” if they choose to do so.
Produced since 1983, the Mig-29 is a fourth-generation hypersonic fighter with a top speed of Mach 2.3. According to the yearbook The Military Balance 2022, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Polish Air Force has two squadrons of this type of aircraft.