By Biodun Busari
Russia has threatened to destroy any war plane given to Ukraine, following the promise of Slovakia and Poland to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to the war-torn nation.
The government of Slovakia said on Friday that it would send 13 Soviet-designed fighter jets to Ukraine, a day after Poland’s president pledged the same, according to New York Times.
Slovakia and Poland, with their promises, markes a possible significant shift from NATO allies in increasing arms supplies for Kyiv.
Slovakia, which borders both Ukraine and Poland, had said months ago that it was ready to send MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. “Promises must be kept,” Slovakia’s prime minister, Eduard Heger, wrote on Twitter. He did not specify the timing of the delivery.
The news came a day after a surprise announcement by Poland’s president that his country would send four MIG-29 jets to Ukraine within days.
According to NYT, the move has intended to open the door to more advanced warplanes from NATO allies.
And the fighter jets would be the first sent to Ukraine by a NATO country since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year.
However, the Kremlin on Friday disdained Poland’s pledge of MIG-29s, saying the jets would not change the war’s outcome and reiterating a line that they would only cause more trouble for Ukraine’s people.
“All this equipment will be subject to destruction,” the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters at a regular briefing. “It seems that these countries really want to dispose of their old unnecessary equipment this way.”
Ukraine and its Eastern European allies have been pushing for advanced jet fighters, particularly the American F-16. The United States has expressed reluctance, though senior officials have said that the administration had not ruled out deciding later to provide them or, more likely, working out an agreement to allow another country to send them.
At least for now, the United States was standing its ground. The pledge by President Andrzej Duda of Poland “doesn’t change our calculus with respect to F-16s,” John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, said on Thursday. He said that Mr. Duda had not spoken to President Biden about his plan.
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