Poland will overcome in the coming weeks another of those red lines never explicitly drawn by Vladimir Putin, but feared by everyone in Europe: the delivery of combat aircraft to Ukraine. They will not be, for the moment, Western-made aircraft, such as the F16, the Eurofighter or the Saab Gripen, but MiG29, fighters of Soviet origin, but even so it is a daring movement, the first of its kind.

President Andrzej Duda said Thursday that “Poland will deliver four of the Soviet-made planes in the next few days” and that the rest must be examined for later delivery. It seems that in total there may be a dozen of the 29 devices that this country still has in service, almost all of them deployed near the border of Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the shores of the Baltic Sea.

Duda did not clarify if other countries would do the same, although Slovakia has also said that it will send its disused MiG29 to Ukraine, and that specialists estimate 10 devices. Some of these planes come from the German Luftwaffe at the time of the GDR.

Western NATO members have been reluctant to respond to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to send him fighter jets, even though these words were always spoken with Western fighters in mind, not from former Soviet arsenals. Poland and Slovakia have had these aircraft in their fleets since the days when they belonged to the Warsaw Pact, before the fall of the USSR and its entry into NATO.

Ukraine also has an unknown number of MiG29 fighters, although no one knows for sure how many it has left (about 30 at best) after more than a year of war, especially considering that they became the main target during the first hours of the invasion, when they were destroyed by long-range missiles on the same take-off runways.

In any case, these Polish and Slovakian MiG29s no longer have anything to do with their Ukrainian cousins. Since these countries entered the alliance, all these Soviet aircraft designed in the 1970s have been adapted and upgraded with Western technology, making them estimated to be far more valuable than the ones Ukraine possesses today.

The MiG 29, which entered service in 1983 to take on the F16, is still a very competent aircraft in close combat, highly maneuverable and fast, capable of exceeding Mach 2 and capable of landing on unprepared roads as if they were runways. At long ranges, any western fighter is superior for its advanced electronics, but at close ranges, the MiG 29 becomes a lethal adversary, as demonstrated in the early days of the war, where several of these Ukrainian aircraft shot down many bombers. more modern and equipped Russian fighters over the skies of the invaded country, which gave rise to the legend of the “ghost of Kiev”, when in reality those Russian fighter shootdowns did not belong to a single pilot, but to several.

Since then, the participation of aviation in the conflict, especially Russian aviation, has been testimonial, limited to launching missiles and bombs from Russia and its own occupied territory, but unable to overcome that border due to the great precision of Ukrainian anti-aircraft weapons. .

Several Ukrainian sources assure that Poland and Slovakia have already transferred many spare parts of these same aircraft to keep the Ukrainian MiG 29 in flight and even some complete aircraft, but there is no confirmation about this delivery.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project