Poland will provide Ukraine with four MiG-29 fighter jets, becoming the first NATO country to do so. Warsaw has become a key NATO ally to Kiev since tensions with Russia erupted in 2014, and has supplied the country with heavy weapons, including the Soviet-designed fighters. Ukrainian officials, however, have escalated their public lobbying campaign for US-made F-16 fighter jets, arguing they need them urgently to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks. But that push has been met with skepticism by US and allied officials who say the jets would be impractical. President Andrzej Duda said the MiGs Poland is sending still operate in the defence of Poland’s airspace but are at the end of their operational life.
Poland will replace the fighter jets with deliveries of South Korean FA-50s and American F-35s. Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw, Duda said that Poland and its new Czech counterpart Petr Pavel are at the forefront when it comes to supporting Ukraine, both at the humanitarian and military levels. Earlier this year, NATO allies agreed to send modern Western battle tanks to the country. Germany announced last year that it would provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks while the US will provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, revoking the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the highly sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles.
Since tensions between Kiev and Moscow erupted, the US and Saudi Arabia have approved the sales of a combined $1.7bn of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. The Javelin missiles are seen as a key piece of anti-tank weaponry for Ukraine should the country be forced into battle against Russia. In addition to arms, the EU has been providing Ukraine with support amid reports of Russian cyber attacks, including protection of businesses and infrastructure from cyber threats. Last year, the European Union announced a €35m (c. $39.5m) programme to support victims of cybercrime in Ukraine.