(CNN) On Thursday, Poland promised to send four MiG-29 fighter jets In a significant move in the Kiev war to resist Russian aggression, Ukraine became the first NATO member to do so.
Thursday’s announcement comes after NATO allies agreed earlier this year to send modern Western battle tanks to Ukraine. President Andrzej DudaPoland’s announcement that it will ship Soviet-designed aircraft could now put pressure on other countries in the alliance to supply fighter jets.
“We can confidently say that we are sending MiGs to Ukraine,” Duda told reporters. “We have a dozen or so MiGs that we got from the German Democratic Republic in the 90s, which are operational and play a role in protecting our airspace. They are at the end of their operational life, but still operational,” Duda added.
Poland was one of the most vocal European countries against Russia — even before the Ukraine invasion. Russia is still seen by many in Poland’s political and diplomatic circles in the context of the Cold War. Putin has always been seen as unreliable by Warsaw and Russia’s expansion is something to be fought at all costs. It is one of the few NATO countries required by law to meet defense spending of 2% of their GDP and is an active member of the European Defense Community.
Although the deployment of the MiGs is a break from the alliance, it is not an unexpected move and is fully in line with Poland’s membership in NATO. This could change the dynamics within the alliance, and act as a catalyst for many countries, or upset countries opposed to NATO becoming more involved in the conflict, such as Hungary.
The big question is whether it will do the same to Germany if it puts pressure on Britain and America. Ultimately, it may be Poland’s intention to build this pressure on other allies.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in January that his country would deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks, bowing to intensifying international pressure led by the United States, Poland and a group of other European nations that called on Berlin to increase its military support and pledges. They send search vehicles.
The announcement was matched by the United States, which said President Joe Biden would deliver 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the more sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles.
In addition to tanks, Ukraine has been pushing for the delivery of fighter jets to the United States, arguing that the planes are needed to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks.
But that motivation has been questioned by U.S. and allied officials, who say the jets would be impractical because they require substantial training and Russia has extensive anti-aircraft systems that could easily shoot them down.
There are American and European authorities previously told CNN F-16 fighter jets are impractical under these circumstances. Germany has outright ruled out providing fighter jets to Ukraine, while UK government officials have echoed this sentiment, saying they believe it is not practical to send jets into Ukraine.