Poland hesitant about transfer of jet fighters to Ukraine as it only has 48 F-16s, defense chief says

February 6, 2023

Mariusz Blaszczak (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) 

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak during an interview with the Sieci weekly published on Feb. 4 dodged the question of whether Warsaw would give Ukraine F-16 fighter jets, saying only that his country has “too few” of them.

Blaszczak said that in his opinion, the full-scale war against Ukraine unleashed by Russia will last for a long time, and “a free Ukraine means a free Poland.”

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He said he was convinced that if Russian dictator Vladimir Putin succeeded in occupying the whole of Ukraine, he would not stop there.

According to the minister, Poland is strengthening its borders and is continuing to help Ukraine. However, when the journalists asked Blaszczak whether Warsaw was ready to transfer its F-16 aircraft to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, he did not give a direct answer.

“We have too few of them, only 48,” Polskie Radio quoted Blaszczak as saying.

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“It’s a pity that when we made the decision to purchase them, we didn’t choose a larger contract. It was Polish pressure that led to Ukraine receiving Patriot air defense systems and Leopard tanks.”

Earlier, commenting on the possible supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the country was strengthening its security and was ready to negotiate with allies to support Ukraine. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he supports the delivery of F-16s to Kyiv if NATO partners collectively take this step.

On Jan. 29, media reported that Poland had provided Ukraine with “some” MiG-29s under the guise of spare parts back in early 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the allies to provide Ukraine with longer-range missiles and F-16s during a meeting in the Ramstein format on Jan. 20. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that some of Ukraine’s European partners have already “taken up the issue of fighter jets.”

Politico reported that European countries are discussing the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine after the decision to transfer tanks, but some NATO countries fear a possible escalation. At the same time, both the European Union and the United States believe that it is only a matter of time before Kyiv receives the aircraft.


  1. “Blaszczak said that in his opinion, the full-scale war against Ukraine unleashed by Russia will last for a long time, and “a free Ukraine means a free Poland.”

    Well it will last a long time. Until or unless Ukraine gets all the help it needs.
    Ukraine faces an implacable, savage, evil and resourceful enemy. The time to help this blameless nation of human beings is now.

  2. I hope (and I assume) negotiations are going on behind the scenes.
    I think a good deal is possible: there are dozens of retired F-16 air frames in Europe.

    The Netherlands has 60+ airframes that are retired.

    I think Poland didn’t make a mistake when they only bought 48 fighter jets as they had the most advanced version of the F-16 and the MIG-29’s also had more than a decade of life in them.

    By then they did not have the money for more as the Poland economy was way smaller back then.

    I don’t think these Polish fighter jets will be needed and even if so there are plenty of airframes available to temporarily replace them.

  3. If Biden doesn’t efin want to send F-16’s to Ukraine the least he can do is send 48 to Poland so that they can send all of theirs to Ukraine.

    • Good idea, Bill. But, Biden will have to lick quite a few ice creams while thinking about this. He might accept it, unless he gets a brain freeze.

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