Poland has ‘too few’ F-16 jets to send to Ukraine: president
The Polish president has said that his country’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets is “not sufficiently large” to permit the transfer of any of the planes to war-torn Ukraine.
Polish President Andrzej Duda. Twitter/Office of the President of Poland
Andrzej Duda made the remark at a media briefing in Iceland on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The Polish president was attending a summit of European leaders in Reykjavik.
Asked if Poland would join an international coalition to provide F-16 jets to help Ukraine fight Russia, Duda said his country was the third-largest provider of military aid to Kyiv, after the United States and Britain.
The Polish head of state stated: “Poland has transferred an unprecedented amount of weapons to Ukraine, compared with other European Union countries. We have supplied Ukraine with over 300 tanks and almost all of our MiG-29 fighter jets, for which Ukraine had been asking us from the very start of the conflict.”
He added: “We have transferred a multitude of weapons worth billions of dollars.”
Duda went on to say: ”We have a relatively tiny number of F-16 jets, but we are ready to support the training of Ukrainian pilots. I discussed this with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak some time ago.”
The president told reporters: “The number of F-16 jets that we possess does not permit the transfer of any of them to Ukraine.”
He declared, however, that Poland was ready to “continue to provide Ukraine with MiG-29 jets” and emphasized that Poland “initiated an international coalition to provide military support to Ukraine.”
Duda also told reporters that talks at the Reykjavik summit focused on “support for Ukraine, including military assistance, humanitarian aid, sanctions on Russia and the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine,” the PAP news agency reported.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday pledged to build an “international coalition” to provide fighter jet support for Ukraine, news outlets reported.
Sunak and Rutte „agreed they would work to build an international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F16 jets,” a spokesman for the British prime minister said in a statement during the meeting of Council of Europe leaders in Iceland.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday night that the pledge represented “a good start for the coalition,” his office reported.
Source: PAP, dziennik.pl