Fighter jets for Ukraine: a new Polish initiative?
Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that Poland will deliver Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine at the end of last week. Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger responded by pledging to provide Ukraine with more jets of the same type. Europe’s press discusses whether the initiative will soften Nato’s resistance to the idea of supplying Ukraine with fighter jets.
An important gesture from Central Eastern Europe
Lidové noviny praises the initiative from Poland and Slovakia:
“First of all, it is a practical and quick step. Ukrainian pilots won’t have to learn how to use new technology such as that on on the ageing American F-16s. ... These decisions are not a fundamental turning point in Western policy. In practice, it means that Nato is freeing itself from the legacy of the Warsaw Pact with the older but high-quality aircraft. And the move works well as a political gesture. The only reason why the Czech Republic cannot participate in this latest gesture is that all MiG-29s went to Slovakia when Czechoslovakia was divided.”
Warsaw is breaking another taboo
Poland continues to forge ahead, Tygodnik Powszechny comments:
“Poland is thus once again at the forefront of those countries that with their decisions — and clearly supported by the US, the most important ally — are setting the system standard, so to speak, for the delivery of ever new types of weapons to Ukraine. In this way, what was initially a political-military taboo (for some) is gradually becoming the norm. ... It is not the first taboo that has been broken in recent months. The same happened with the absurd, and fortunately quickly abandoned, distinction between ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ weapons, with armoured vehicles and with Western-type tanks.”
Don’t lose sight of the budget
Poland is also upgrading its own military capacities. This could cause problems at some point, warns Dagens Nyheter:
“The question is how Poland can afford to spend the astronomical sum of 110 billion euros on defence by 2035. It is close to the amount of EU funds that has been frozen because the Polish government has no respect for independent courts. Investment in defence enjoys broad cross-party support. But it carries political risks in a country with 17 percent inflation. Parliamentary elections will be held in October, and without EU funds, the government could be forced to make drastic financial cuts.”