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Current Affairs

Poland offers MiG-29 to US

Date: 11 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Poland has offered to provide its MiG-29 fighter jets to a US air base in Germany in a surprising move.

 

Background

The Russian military is using MiG-29 fighter jets to bomb Ukraine. The given up aircrafts could be passed on to Ukrainian Air force.

 

Details

  • The move would see a NATO aircraft departing from a US and NATO base to fly into contested airspace, signaling involvement of NATO forces in conflict.

  • The NATO officials have rejected the offer and said the move by Poland is untenable in current circumstances.

 

Need for Poland’s jets

  • Since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian forces have struggled to hold their ground. The president has requested western countries for weapons and ammunition.

  • Ukrainian air force pilots have been trained to handle soviet-made jets and providing their US-made jets would be unviable.

  • The MiG-29 offered by Poland are Soviet-made warplanes first emerged during the 1970s. They are currently in use in countries such as Bulgaria and Slovakia other than Poland.

 

Impact on Ukraine

  • Providing Ukraine with MiG-29 jets would signal West’s willingness to aid Ukraine in the war. This would involve NATO indirectly.

  • However, it would not have wide-ranging impact as they are inferior compared to sophisticated Russian jets currently being employed by Moscow.

  • Ukraine is comfortable in using ground to air weapons such as anti-aircraft Stinger and anti-tank Javelin missiles instead of engaging in air combat.

 

Stakes for Poland

  • The proposal is a swap offer under which Poland will receive US-made F-16 fighter jets for giving up MiG-29 to Ukraine.

  • Poland is also facing Russian threat and it would want to keep its forces ready in case of Russia’s forwards march.

 

Russia’s reaction

  • Russia says that aiding Ukrainian forces would be similar to joining the war, and could spur retaliation. 

  • It is a valid threat for various NATO and EU signatories but Russia would not want to engage in direct conflict with USA.