Russia has criticized the deliveries of fighter jets to Ukraine announced by Poland and Slovakia as a further escalation. "It goes without saying that this technology is subject to destruction as part of the military special operation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, according to the Interfax news agency.
From Peskov's point of view, the Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets cannot change the course of the war. They would only bring more misery to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, the 55-year-old said. A cynical warning, because this distress is caused solely by the Russian war of aggression.
The course of the war is likely to be the focus of next week's talks between Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping, who will be visiting Moscow from Monday.
Kremlin sees ever deeper involvement of the West
In addition, the Russian leadership took the delivery as a sign of the West's ever-deeper involvement in the war. "This is just one more example of how a number of NATO member countries are increasing their direct involvement in the conflict," said Peskow. The concern that Moscow will interpret it in this way is also affecting many politicians in the West, who have so far been opposed to the delivery of fighter jets, or at least have been hesitant.
After Warsaw had already pledged MiG-29 combat aircraft to Ukraine on Thursday, the government in Bratislava also approved the transfer of such aircraft to Kiev on Friday. Warsaw initially spoke of four aircraft, Bratislava of 13 MiG-29s, three of which were only good for cannibalizing. In addition to tanks and artillery, Ukraine has long been demanding warplanes from the West in order to liberate the territories occupied by Russia. So far, there have been no commitments from other states, especially for the western-style F-16s requested by Kiev. For these US fighter jets, pilots would first have to complete a very long training course. However, Ukraine itself has MiG-29s, and their pilots could fly them immediately.
Ukraine says it needs the planes to defend itself against Russian missile attacks. For months, Russia has been targeting Ukraine's power plants to plunge the country's people into cold and darkness during the cold season
The federal government expressed reservations about the fighter jet delivery planned by Poland. If it is about aircraft that Germany has a say in, it will have to wait and see whether there is an application. So far there is no such thing, said a government spokesman in Berlin. Poland took over MiG-29s from Germany a good two decades ago, which originally belonged to the National People's Army of the GDR. Due to a so-called end-use clause, Poland is only allowed to pass on the jets to Ukraine with the consent of the federal government. How many MiG-29s Poland still has and whether the four machines that are now to be delivered to Ukraine came from Germany was unknown.