On Sunday, the media reported EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell’s sensational announcement that European countries will send “fighter jets” to Ukraine.
“We’re going to provide even fighter jets. We’re not talking about just ammunition. We are providing more important arms to go to a war,” he told a press conference.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told the EU “they need the kind of fighting jets that the Ukrainian army is able to operate… some member states have these kinds of planes,” Borrell said.
A person familiar with the talks later said that any combat planes would be supplied directly by EU member states and not funded through an arrangement announced earlier for the EU to finance weapons deliveries to Ukraine.
EU is intending to donate old MiG-29s and Su-25s of different NATO-air forces to Ukraine. Sounds logical: Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria etc. are still flying MiG-29s.
Among the EU/NATO allies, the Su-25 is operated by the Bulgarian Air Force that also operates some 15x MiG-29s. The latter is also operated by Poland (30 aircraft), and Slovakia (13 operational aircraft).
The Ukrainian Air Force has recently received resupplies of air-to-air missiles used by its combat planes that continue to fight against the Russian Air Force in the skies over Ukraine.
AFP reported late on Sunday Feb. 27, 2022, that the EU countries would be ready to provide ‘fighter jets’ to Ukraine. No additional detail has been provided, however, the statement is enough for some comment.
Numerous sources reported that Ukraine will receive MiG-29 fighters, which will allow them to be put into service since a similar type forms the basis of the Ukrainian Air Force.
Defense One also quoted Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, a retired general who oversaw U.S. Air Force fighter jets as head of Air Combat Command saying that since Ukraine already flies the MiG-29, its Air Force pilots could immediately fly MiG-29s flown by other countries without any major training.
“It really would not be a big step, going from a Ukrainian MiG-29 to a Polish MiG-29,” said Carlisle.
On February 24, at about 4 am Kyiv time, the Russian Federation started a war against Ukraine, launching missile and bomb strikes on Ukrainian settlements and infrastructure and kicking off a ground military offensive from multiple directions.