Germany allows Poland to export 24 MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

Poland still operates the MiG-29. Some could be transferred to Ukraine as part of a new €450 million package of so-called lethal aid.

Germany has approved Poland’s request to export five old MiG-29 fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s air power against the Russian invasion, the German defence ministry said on Thursday.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said the request had arrived Thursday, and that Berlin’s same-day approval showed that Germany could be relied upon.

Germany inherited 24 MiG-29 jets from the East German GDR during reunification in 1990. At the time, the aircraft were seen as new fighter jets in the world.

In 2004, Berlin passed on 22 of the aircraft to Poland. Of the remaining two jets, one was destroyed in a crash and one is on show at a museum.

Poland needs Berlin’s consent to send its remaining jets to a third country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said during a visit to Warsaw last week that Poland would help form a coalition of Western powers to supply warplanes to Kyiv.

Ukraine, which hopes to launch a counteroffensive in the coming weeks or months, wants to secure fighter jets to defend against air strikes.

Western countries have so far been reluctant to send advanced fighter jets such as F-16’s to Kyiv, but some countries have stepped in to send old MiG-29 jets that Ukraine already uses.

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