Poland will be providing Ukraine with four Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, with the promise of more to come from Slovakia. This marks the first time Ukraine will receive combat aircraft from Western partners, but according to Yuriy Ignat, the spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Ukraine, the MiG-29s will merely help to strengthen their existing capabilities in Soviet equipment. The transfer of the MiG-29 is an opportunity for Poland to replace their Soviet-era fighters with American F-35s and South Korean FA-50s to deter Russia.
Why does it matter
While the MiG-29 is one of two types of fighters in service with Ukraine, it is a fourth-generation aircraft from the 70s and 80s, and according to Ignat, the fighter is outdated both morally and physically. Despite this, the MiG-29s will aid in maintaining the aviation fleet in combat condition, but not be able to lead to any significant changes on the battlefield. Western models such as the American F-16 are necessary to achieve superiority in the air and ground operations.
Slovakia is prepared to supply Ukraine with ten planes, and Poland has expressed its intention to do the same from other countries. However, the MiG-29 is a Soviet aircraft and upgrading it with GPS, recognition and communication systems will not change that. Modernized Western models are necessary for Ukraine to change the situation at the front.