On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw could give Ukraine Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets within four to six weeks, a step that would mark a significant escalation in NATO support for Kyiv.
Morawiecki said Poland wanted to transfer the jets as part of a coalition, suggesting it will only happen if other NATO countries went along. Slovakia has previously said it’s open to sending its MiG-29 jets to Ukraine.
Ukrainian pilots are trained to use the MiG-29s, so the jets can be used in battle immediately once they arrive in Ukraine. But it’s not clear how long the process of delivering the aircraft would take.
In March 2022, Poland offered to give MiG-29s to the US to send to Ukraine, but the idea was rejected by the Pentagon over concerns of escalation. NATO diplomats told CNN at the time that providing Ukraine with fighter jets could be perceived by Russia as the alliance directly entering the war.
But one year later, NATO countries are less concerned about escalation. The US and its allies are laying the groundwork to eventually provide Kyiv with advanced Western fighter jets, such as the F-16, which would require extensive training for Ukrainian pilots.
Ukrainian pilots have already arrived in the US to assess their skill levels to learn how long it would take them to train on American fighter jets. More and more European countries equipped with US jets are expressing openness to sending them to Ukraine. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Monday that she was open to giving Ukraine Finland’s F/A-18 Hornet jets once they’re replaced with F-35s.