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German media: Berlin to approve Polish transfer of ex-East German fighter jets to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 13, 2023 5:05 PM 2 min read
A ground staff directs the Mig-29 fighter jet of the Ukrainian Air Force after a flight during a training session in a military airbase at the Vasylkiv air base on Nov. 23, 2016. (Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto)
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The German government has decided to approve Poland's request to give Ukraine Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets that had originally belonged to the East German air force before reunification, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on April 12, citing sources in government circles.

According to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, the final decision on Warsaw's application will be made on April 12.

As the jets, of which Poland has around a dozen and requested to send five to Ukraine according to Süddeutsche Zeitung, where sold by Germany to Warsaw in 2002, Berlin's permission must be received for such a transfer, just like with any other German-made arms such as the Leopard 2 tank.

Poland has already sent eight of its own MiG-29 jets to Ukraine, with a further six promised to be on the way.

Ukraine is campaigning hard for its partners to send fighter jets, particularly the U.S.-built multirole F-16, saying they are needed to support offensive operations and defend against missile and guided bomb attacks.

While some countries including the U.K. and the Netherlands have said that such deliveries were "not off the table," no country has agreed to provide Western-built combat aircraft yet.

Unlike Western jets, the Soviet-built MiGs, which Ukraine already operates, can be put into service quickly, without months of flying and logistics training.

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