Poland reportedly delivered MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine as ‘spare parts’

Maciej Baranowski / Wikimedia

Poland has already delivered operational MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in secret, local media has reported. 

Since the initial invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Ukrainian authorities have been asking their allies for the delivery of combat aircraft, both Soviet and Western.  

In March 2022, shortly after the beginning of the war, a plan to transfer the whole Polish fleet of MiG-29 fighters officially fell through, after Poland and the United States failed to reach an agreement. 

“It cannot be that Poland is the only NATO country to bear the risk, and other countries would not have to compensate or share it with us in any way; we will continue to talk with our allies about MiG-29 planes,” Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pawel Jablonski told Polish media on March 9, 2022. 

Days later, the Ukrainian Air Force said that it had not officially received any new aircraft from its allies, only spare parts, and components that helped in the restoration and repair of its current fleet.  

However, it now appears that several complete MiG-29 fighters were transferred to Ukraine by Poland during that period.  

The claims were first reported by the local daily paper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, citing governmental sources. The fighters were allegedly delivered disassembled, labeled as spare parts. 

‘The fuselage or wings are also a spare part,’ the sources commented. 

The exact method used to ferry the aircraft was not disclosed, though with the Ukrainian airspace closely monitored by Russia, it is likely that they were transferred by train. 

More fighter jets could soon find their way to the hands of Ukrainian pilots 

On January 24, 2022, Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson for the Air Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that military pilots had been sent to the United States for training and that the fighter jets to be delivered had been identified.  

In July 2022, the United States House of Representatives earmarked $100 million for training Ukrainian pilots to fly US combat aircraft. 

The Dutch government has said itself ready to consider the delivery of F-16 fighters to Ukraine with an ‘open mind.’ Similarly, the manufacturer Lockheed Martin has declared that it stands ready to meet the demand for its F-16 aircraft. 

Following the success of the US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Ramstein, Germany, on January 20, 2022, in unlocking the delivery of main battle tanks, it is expected that the next session, to be held in February 2022, will address the question of combat aircraft. 

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