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Duda: Poland can't supply Ukraine with F-16s
Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland was not able to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets but was not against training Ukrainian pilots and sending more MiG-29s, news outlet wPolityce reported on May 17.
While speaking to journalists at the Council of Europe summit in Iceland, Duda was asked if Poland would join an international coalition alongside the U.K. and the Netherlands to procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine.
According to Duda, Poland has a "relatively small number" of F-16s, meaning that supplying Ukraine with such fighter jets is not an option. However, Poland is ready to "support the process of training Ukrainian pilots," Duda said.
"We donated unprecedented amounts of armaments to the EU, we donated more than 300 tanks to Ukraine, we donated almost all our MiG-29s, which Ukraine asked us for from the very beginning of the war," Duda added.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the coalition to procure Western fighter jets would be established this year. Meanwhile, France and the U.K. have already expressed their willingness to train Ukrainian pilots.
Ukraine has so far received 14 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and 13 from Slovakia. Duda told journalists that Poland was ready to supply more MiG-29s, but some of them were being used for NATO's air policing missions.
Ukraine has shown the most interest in the U.S.-built F-16, which has been in service since the 1970s and operated by over 20 nations.
Critics argue that allies' reluctance to supply Western fighter jets and long-range missiles to Ukraine may prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.