Poland has become the first NATO country to send warplanes to Ukraine in response to Zelensky's call for more aid in their fight against Russian aggression, though this move has not changed the stance of the Biden administration, which said on Thursday that it will not be sending its own warplanes.
Polish President Andrzej Duda made the announcement that his country would send four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine within the next few weeks, with a dozen more to come after maintenance, according to the Daily Mail.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that Poland’s decision to send warplanes "doesn't change our calculus with regards to F16s."
Poland's move to send fighter jets to Ukraine aims to help Ukraine destroy Russian air targets within radar coverage limits, as well as ground targets using unguided missiles. The MiG-29s have large wing extensions, which provide them with good maneuverability and control at subsonic speeds.
Other allied nations have also made commitments to send MiG jets to Kyiv, including Slovakia, who committed to sending disused MiGs to replace Kyiv's planes. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that his country's planes would be sent in roughly four to six weeks.
NATO allies have been hesitant to send jets out of fear that it will escalate the war. US President Joe Biden said last year that sending over tanks and jets would spark World War III, though this did not stop his administration from announcing in February that tanks would be sent over, along with US troops who would aid Ukrainians in training. Earlier this month, two Ukrainian pilots were being evaluated in Arizona by the US military to gauge how much time they would need to learn how to fly F-16 jets, according to the Daily Mail.
Dutch foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra said in January that the Netherlands was considering supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Richie Sunak's UK has not jumped at the opportunity to send its Typhoon and F-35 jets, citing the need to train pilots who are used to Soviet-era fighter jets.
The Polish prime minister also announced this week that Warsaw would provide US-made F-16 fighter planes, subject to the Biden administration's approval.
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