13 April 2023

Germany approves Poland’s request to send jets to Ukraine

13 April 2023

Germany has approved Poland’s request to transfer five Soviet-designed fighter jets to Ukraine, the German Defence Ministry has said.

The permission was needed because Germany used to own the Soviet-designed MiG 29 planes, which were part of communist East Germany’s military fleet.

“I welcome the fact that we in the federal government have reached this decision together,” Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said in a statement. “This shows you can rely on Germany!”

Poland was an early advocate of sending fighter jets to Ukraine. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Warsaw a week ago, Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country already had provided four MiG-29 jets to Ukraine, with four more in the process of getting handed over and another six being prepared.

Mr Zelensky has lobbied Western supporters for months to provide fighter jets, anti-aircraft defence systems and other equipment and ammunition, while Ukrainian officials have spoken of preparations for an expected spring counteroffensive against Russian forces.

During a visit to Mali earlier on Thursday, Mr Pistorius confirmed German media reports saying that Germany had received Poland’s request and would reply by the end of the day.

Germany itself has not supplied Ukraine with jets, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has not signalled any plans to do so.

Although Germany has become continental Europe’s biggest supplier of arms to Ukraine, the German government and Mr Scholz have faced periodic criticism, especially ahead of a decision in January to supply battle tanks, over perceived reluctance to step up aid.

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