Russia has vowed to destroy all fighter jets donated to Ukraine by European nations after Poland and Slovakia, backed by new equipment and finance from the U.S. and the European Union, became the first countries to send warplanes to Kyiv.
Fighter jets have been a long-term demand for the Ukrainian government of Volodymyr Zelensky since the renewed Russian invasion at the start of 2022, but NATO leaders have shied away from what they considered a major escalation of their involvement in the conflict until now. Enabled by cash and replacement warbirds from the United States and the European Union, two European nations are sending fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days.
The first to announce it was sending jets was Poland, whose airforce operates many former-Soviet fighters. Warsaw announced Thursday it would be sending the first tranche of Mikoyan MIG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighter jets, a 1980s-era type roughly originally built as a parallel to the U.S. F-16. While that delivery will run to four jets, Poland has dozens and is reportedly preparing others for delivery. . .
As has been the case with other major escalations in levels of support to Ukraine — the provision of main battle tanks, for instance, where months of refusals from NATO nations ended with a rush of donations after the United Kingdom opened the floodgates by being the first to supply — Poland making the jets announcement has been closely followed. Slovakia has now said it will send its entire airforce’s stock of MIG-29s as well in an announcement on Friday just hours after Poland’s. . .
Slovakia is also receiving considerable support from Western powers to make the donation possible. The European Union is making a contribution of $200 million to the Slovakian government in “compensation” for them losing their jets, and the United States has agreed to supply $700 million of new military equipment — likely American-made fighters like the F-35 — to replace them. (Read more from “Escalation: Backed by U.S. And EU, Poland and Slovakia Sending Jets to Ukraine” HERE)
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