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"No, Polish MiG-29s are not coming to Ukraine" Topic

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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 1:19 p.m. PST

Another story about the truth behind the hope…


I have to say, even if they did get 28 old style MiG-29s I am curious what that would even do. These aircraft require airfields, support, and weapons. And since they are old style MiG-29s, we're talking significantly downgraded weapons compared to what they would be facing.

This is like at the beginning of World War 2, the US getting Spain to offer their old German, Italian and Russian fighters to countries for defense. Would it help? Maybe, but not much.

And no, we can just give Ukraine F16s and A10s. Ukrainian pilots have no experience with these aircraft, and in the modern air environment, on the job training isn't really a policy (unless you count ejecting to be on the job training).

emckinney07 Mar 2022 2:20 p.m. PST

"And no, we can just give Ukraine F16s and A10s. Ukrainian pilots have no experience with these aircraft, and in the modern air environment, on the job training isn't really a policy (unless you count ejecting to be on the job training)."

FDR worked out this problem almost exactly 80 years ago.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 2:59 p.m. PST

Flying 80 years ago was a bit of a different game than it is now. Learning a new airframe is like learning a new and complex piece of software. Add to that people shooting at you while it is happening and it is a recipe for dead pilots.

Of course you could bring Ukrainian pilots here and train them to safely operate the aircraft, but at that point you are an active combat participant. It would likely take weeks of hard core training to get the pilots familiar with the new aircraft- all of which are rated with equipment we don't really want to go to the Russians if they are shot down. If we go that step, we might as well go all in. If we go all in
then it is WWIII.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 3:46 p.m. PST

Communist China and the whole Warsaw Pact supplied weapons to North Korea and North Vietnam so giving weapons and equipment to a belligerent is not a basis for WWII.

Also there is a big difference between basing aircraft in Poland and shipping aircraft from Poland to Ukraine.

But of course Russian piloted Migs flew missions from China in the Korean War too. link

The US has 1,400+ F16s, send an Air National Guard unit to Poland train the Poles in the F16 and turn the planes over the Poland and sell them new F16s when they come off the assembly line, after the Taiwan order is completed. In the meantime Poland can give Ukraine their 30ish Mig 29s.

Problem solved.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 5:12 p.m. PST

Except, as the article points out, the F16s that are available now are not the ones that Poland flies. They'd have to agree to take on a new logistical chain and have two separate models of F16 to support and maintain. They don't want that.

And if they did, there's a years long wait for new F16s that we'd have to get other countries to agree to delay delivery to in order to move Poland up the chain.

And unlike Vietnam and Korea, where we intentionally communicated that we would not escalate over Chinese and Soviet military support, Putin has stated directly that he will consider the US doing so a causus belli, at the minimum against Poland, who are not eager to sign up to become Putin's latest target, regardless of article 5.

Look, I want to help out Ukraine as much as anyone, but giving them a bunch of old Polish fighters and hoping that Ukraine can both get them into the country and then be able to support them from vulnerable bases isn't it.

Something we could do faster, and probably have more impact is to send them a bunch of drones and weapons for them. They will be easier to maintain, can be hidden and flown from roads, and won't put Ukrainian pilots directly in harm's way. This will have higher impact, won't require the logistical derring do that the MiG-29 idea would and be faster to impact the situation.

Ukraine doesn't want the MiG-29s to dogfight- they want them to bomb the convoys. Drones will have much greater impact in the short and long run and we could get them there within 48
to 72 hours, with weapons.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 5:27 p.m. PST

In other words, if we mismanage the MiG-29 issue, or any of these issues….


Thresher0107 Mar 2022 5:28 p.m. PST

Not so sure the Mig-29s weapons would be significantly poorer than those of the Russians.

Might be perhaps, vs. top of the line Russian AAMs, should the Russians field those, but how many do they have, and do the jets flying over Ukraine have them, or are they using 2nd line aircraft for this fight, and saving top-of-the-line ones for the defense of the Motherland?

I imagine some, if not many/most of the Polish Migs may have been modified to also use US missiles too, so they may have pretty decent Sidewinders, and Sparrows, or other Euro-made missiles. They do have 3 squadrons of F-16s apparently, and from what I read on Wikipedia, the East German Mig-29s they got from Germany were upgraded to "NATO standard", so they may indeed have Western AAMs which should be as good, if not better than those of Russia.

Any aircraft are better than none at all, even as an "air-fleet in being" to curtail some Russian ops through the threat of their intervention alone.

I agree, armed drones probably would be better, if they can't be hacked by the Russians.

It is interesting to watch the back and forth on this. My guess is they will get them, but that now Poland is denying they are providing them, so Putin doesn't declare war on them for providing the jets to Ukraine. Misinformation can be used by both sides.

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 7:06 p.m. PST

Unlikely to be of use in present war. Even flying off would give Putin 'cause' to 'retaliate' on Host Nations.
Keep in 'Basket' for Ukraine after some sort of 'survival'

Thresher0107 Mar 2022 9:17 p.m. PST

He bluffs a good game, but I'm not really sure what he can do to many nations, short of nuking them, which of course may result in being nuked himself, so……

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2022 10:40 p.m. PST

I Don't think it Bluff anymore. Putin is at the end of his rope… pollitically and mentally.

Just hope that Russians will 'remove' him.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2022 8:11 a.m. PST

It seems to me what the Ukrainians could really use is something for deep tactical interdiction, like the Pershing missile. "Oh, did we leave the coordinates of that column heading for Kiyiv dialled in?"

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2022 12:45 p.m. PST

Well, it looks like Poland found a way around this…

They are basically giving them to the US and flying them to Rammstein and saying, 'OK US, they are now yours, have at an do what you want.'

This allows them to tell Russia that they didn't give them directly to Ukraine. It also puts our government on the spot for delivering them to Ukraine (and throws German in the mix since the planes are technically going to be on their territory).


Ukraine gets its MiGs, the US is on the hook for delivering them, and Russia can't blame Poland directly.

freerangeegg08 Mar 2022 12:53 p.m. PST

And the Ukranian pilots get to familiarise themselves with the aircraft out of harms way in Germany

Umpapa08 Mar 2022 2:13 p.m. PST

Ukrainian pilots were already familiarising them. Feet/meters etc. For weeks.

Transfer of MiGs to USA will also block any accusations that Poland is revealing secret NATO/USA technology (IFF, communication, helmets, etc) to Ukraine (which technology may finally get into Russian hands, if shot down). USA will have the possibility to remove any sensitive technology, if needed. It's up to USA, not Poland. I think USA may leave some equipment on MiGs to allow for using NATO armament and some interoperability.

I suppose that Slovakia will probably also transfer own MiGs to USA for geting deal they want for years – to let Poland take responsility for covering Slovakia airspace (Slovakia wanted to get rid of airfleet as too expensive, Slovakian pilots will be flying at Polish F16 controlling Slovakian airspace as cooperation).

Poland will get F16s but also something else. We will see this Friday when Biden and Stoltenberg will be speaking in Polish Parliament: I bet it will be something with nuclear deterrence and sharing – it will be the price for taken risk and for defending Slovakian airspace.

Ukraine will get MiGs and Su, but they dont get what they really wanted – to draw (at least) Poland into war.

We Poles were angry last few days because we feel we are cornered (used by USA, NATO and Ukraine) into not-article-5 engagement with Russia.


Poland secretly proposed that all NATO countries would give all NATOs MiGs and Su to Ukraine. As a NATO.
I am afraid Ukraine had reveal the proposition to raise morale.
Putin declared transfer of aeroplanes would mean aggressive action and open (hot) war.
Everybody and their dog started to encourage Poland alone (why not Slovakia or Bulgaria?) to give planes on behalf of Poland (not NATO or EU, but Poland alone).
USA gave "green light" (WTF?). GB said it is up to Poland.
On the other hand we felt USA was insincere to us:
"But the deal is contingent on giving Poland, in return, far more capable, American-made F-16s, an operation made more complicated by the fact that many of those fighters are promised to Taiwan — where the United States has greater strategic interests." link

Greater strategic interests. Wow. China is hosting Paraolympic, mind You. That looked really really bad to public opinion in Poland. "They again want to Bleeped text us. Like in Iraq."

The Poland govt and President had to deny several times possibility of official basing those Ukrainian MiGs in Poland (rumor propagated by Ukraine – I understand them, but hey).

If Putin would retaliatory strike Poland for transfering planes, we in Poland were in doubt if some of NATO would not then say: "Well, You should not transfer those planes. Sorry, but now You are in war with Russia but no art 5 since technically You Poles are aggressors. We would help You but since its Your fault, we will miss You."

Then Poland and Ukraine would have to fight together against Russia like in 1920. Of course we would win (with USA intel and support of whole Free World), but Russia would be more eager to use nukes at Poland than at "their own ex-Ukraine territory" (nuking Kiev is bad idea if You want to put there puppet government).

We Poles once were cornered into "First to fight". 1939. Not anymore. As I have explained before: Yankees first. TMP link

We wanted to give our Ukrainian brothers MiGs, it was our idea – but as a whole NATO initiative and NATO unexpectedly didnt want to! We already give Ukraine literally trains of ammo, volunteers, logistics, supplies (You cannot find bandage in Poland nowadays, as all were sent to Ukraine) and accepted >1 mln of refugees (more than whole Europe for last ten years, biggest european migration since 1945), but we do would prefer to avoid a privilege of first nuclear strike site since Nagasaki 45'.

Poland was host country to two world wars, maybe this time someone also can be host nation.

Oh and You'd better ship those F16 soon, we may need them really really soon. World hegemony is decided near Kiev now.

If the whole deal will work for everybody (except Russia) means F16 landing in Poland, we may get even better deal next week with Polish T72.
1 US Abrams for 2 ex-Polish T72.
4 new Ukrainian tank brigades.

Umpapa08 Mar 2022 3:35 p.m. PST


J. Paul Kirby
There is some fog of war about what is happening with these Polish Mig-29s. My guess
- US thinks any NFZ is unacceptable
- POL has wanted to send them for a week
- US secretly armtwisted POL into stopping
- Neither US nor POL will disclose the details of the armtwisting
- POL is desperate to send them
- US has been flooding American media with propaganda equating NFZ with nuclear disaster
- What POL has now done is to "out" the US' armtwisting without disclosing details
- POL now unlinks the issue of backfill with F16s etc.
- As GHW Bush wld have said, "no linkage! no linkage!"
- And Germany says it will accept anyone's jets for deployment to UKR
- Shoe now on other foot
- US now has 2 opts
1) We forbid any NFZ. Wont take jets into GER even if POL sends, GER will take & UKR will receive. We take responsibility for UKR massacre.
2) We accept that someone other than UKR will be at war with RUS

Poland has forced Biden's hand. Well played Poland.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2022 4:02 p.m. PST

Thinking outside the box.

Why send them to a U.S. base? Why not a French, German, Or other non U.S. base? Then you don't have to worry about US responses one way or another. That way the US is out of your equation and it becomes a European response.

What if Poland would drop out of NATO? Then Poland can react however it wants and they don't have to consider NATO in the equation at all. Poland, or for that matter, any other country in NATO who feel that NATO restrictions are hindering their responses to the Russian invasion of the Ukrainians.

Umpapa08 Mar 2022 4:11 p.m. PST

It has to be USA:
1. Putin threaten with nukes for planes transfer.
2. France/GB nuclear ability is not enough symmetric (not all level of nukes).
3. USA is world hegemon, for years enjoyed benefits of such position (Bretton Woods, USD, low production/high consumption, etc). Senior has to defend vassals or is changed. We rally around USA when it call Art 5.
4. There is much less risk of Putin nuking USA for delivering planes than nuking Poland.
5. Now You have this "green light". Do as You wish.

Thresher0108 Mar 2022 4:20 p.m. PST

Nyet comrade.

The USA has just officially said it doesn't want to be on the hook for the exchange.

They're now fine with Poland flying them to Ukraine, but won't accept them being flown to a US airbase in Germany (Rammstein – hmmmm, perhaps time for some more of their music, me thinks), and being on the hook for being the middle man.

The US government is rather skittish about that.

I suppose the USA doesn't want to be nuked directly by Putin, and perhaps is offering our nuclear umbrella to Poland and NATO countries as protection.

Of course, Ukraine WAS given various promises when giving up their nukes by Russia, the USA, and others, and look how badly that turned out.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

We all agree, we are playing with Nukes here, correct? Even if you don't fry in the initial explosion, sort of like being thrown into a huge volcano alive, or die in the resulting heat and radiation wave (super heated blast furnace). You will die later in an equally ghastly way, radiation poisoning (I heard it is really painful), etc. none of them fun. If you somehow make it through all that, which I doubt, Probably starvation or thirst, with all that radiation in the atmosphere. I think Russia has over 6000 warheads, probably the only thing that works in that country. US somewhere in the 4000 range. Add the couple of hundred in France and the UK. Should we include, China? Israel? India? Pakistan? North Korea, I am sure he wouldn't want to be left out of the fun. I may be missing a few. Not really a cozy family reunion. Will make WW2 and WW1 combined seem like a walk with Winnie the Pooh in comparison.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2022 5:30 p.m. PST

So Poland deftly came up with a way to accede to the enormous pressure they were under in a way that deflects some of Russia's ire and now our government is all, ‘Waaaaaaaiiiiit. Did we say give those MiGs to Ukraine, we're totally on board? We meant YOU do it because us doing it would be totally escalatory. Maybe it's not such a good idea, but if YOU change your mind we'll totally go back to being in support of YOU doing it.'

You can't make this stuff up.

Leaf fan08 Mar 2022 5:56 p.m. PST

In the days before the US entered WW2 American built planes were landed at fields close to the Canadian border. They were then literally "pushed " across the border where RCAF staff took over.

Alan M09 Mar 2022 2:08 a.m. PST

I'm a bit confused with this. Surely Ukraine could just offer to buy them for a nominal sum, say 1 Euro each. This makes it a business transaction. One country buys arms from another just like at any other time. Am I missing something?

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2022 2:19 a.m. PST

Yes, Putin gets a vote and he has nukes. Poland doesn't want to volunteer for a front row seat in a third massive European war since the last two, not to mention the whole Russian Ukrainian war exactly a century ago wasn't something they enjoyed much, or that extended occupation after the last big war. For them this isn't academic.

They want to have clean hands on this one and are throwing the issue back to the US to resolve. The US has conveniently backed off when that option was presented.

All of this doesn't alter my original point that the Ukrainians need to find a way to base and operate these aircraft when they do get them, which is getting more and more difficult as Russians slowly gobble up more territory.

Perun Gromovnik09 Mar 2022 6:19 a.m. PST

If the US wanted Ukraine to get those aircraft, they would give them first. The US have both MiG-29 and Su-27

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2022 7:00 a.m. PST

We do? What base we hiding those at? Maybe a few in museums. I
Am close to the US Air Force Museum. I could check and see if they will release one. We have some "Allies" who have some, but if they are like Saudi Arabia and the UAB, they won't accept calls from Biden, (happened this week). What about like WW2 before the US was involved, we used to roll planes over the boarder to Canada. Maybe Poland, or another country close to the Ukraine, could move some planes on a hill next to the border, kick the chalks out and let them roll into the Ukraine. Plausible deniability. 😉

Umpapa09 Mar 2022 9:01 a.m. PST

There are 4 countries of NATO bordering Ukraine (Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Poland), all of them can transfer planes on wheels through border.

Poland is the only of the 4 which is bordering Russia (and Belarus) and is only country of the 4 directly threatened (Romania has Moldavia as buffer zone).

And Poland is the only country pushed.

If the USA is afraid, maybe ask Romania? Or Slovakia?

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa09 Mar 2022 9:19 a.m. PST

I would have thought some counter battery radars and some modern MLRS systems quietly handed over at the border would be more use! I'd bet those Russian batteries parked around Ukrainian cities aren't repositioning. Not sure how that would sit with the 'defensive weapons' only thing.

Apparently the Ukrainian's got 20 Russian helicopters on the ground (suggests their rear area security ain't great). That was from the UK defence minister so I'm assuming its been verified at some level by UK military intelligence.

Gunny B09 Mar 2022 10:14 a.m. PST

" I think Russia has over 6000 warheads"

True, but only around 16-1800 ready to launch….only….

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2022 11:13 a.m. PST

"If the USA is afraid" Bypassing the triple dare and going straight to the triple dog dare. A slight breach of etiquette there Schwartz. 🤣 look it up if you don't understand it. 🙂

Yes, I would say Nukes scare me. Should scare about any none insane individual. Of course if it happens, we will be the first to know.

Should any of us be able to supply planes to the Ukraine, sure, if you were dealing with a man who might not be insane. But Putin's mental state is obviously in question. I think what we are currently supplying is something. Instead of planes, I like the drones better. Easier to hide, requires less structure. I don't see the planes or fields lasting long, so probably not worth the risk.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa09 Mar 2022 11:42 a.m. PST

Not crazy, but still dangerous….?
And speaking of 'dodgy dossiers'…
Though really that kind of thing only works if the rest of the 'free world' is willing to pile on. A coalition of Putin's willing would would be rather meagre. Not sure Eritrea or Syria are in any position to deploy forces abroad. NK has got a big army but its rather in the wrong place and I'm not sure Daddy Xi would let little Kim out to play! And Belorussia seem to willing to enable but not much more.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2022 5:08 p.m. PST

@ROU yes there are bio labs in the Ukraine. Odessa and Kiev. Question is why are they there? Did we help do that? Secretary Nuland confirmed this.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2022 5:20 p.m. PST

Subject: USA admits there are Biolabs in Ukraine, says any biological attack will be 'Russia's fault'


ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa10 Mar 2022 9:43 a.m. PST

Everywhere has biolabs! Universities legitimately have research labs and even some very nasty pathogens. But there is a very long way between samples and an actual weapons system. Both Kyiv and Odessa are home to higher education facilities. I'm sure if Russians took the Portland Down lab they'd accuse the UK of manufacturing Novichok just for having the samples recovered from Salisbury.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Mar 2022 9:48 a.m. PST

I don't see the planes or fields lasting long, so probably not worth the risk.

Ukraine's air defenses seem to be holding up.

Sending planes might trigger Russia, but sending drones, Javelins or other weapons is OK? Sounds like quack psychology.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2022 9:51 a.m. PST

I am not saying what they are or do. Just confirming what you linked and what I heard Secretary Nuland admit to being there when answering Senator Cruz. Now the administration is trying to backtrack that. Of course everyone did that with the Wuhan lab as well. So how much credence do you put into either the US or Russian governments and their spokespersons? Lately I have found government spokespeople in all countries to be short on credibility.

Thresher0112 Mar 2022 3:03 p.m. PST

Once again, Secretary Gates has proved to be correct in his assessment.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2022 1:44 p.m. PST

In response to March 10th before I was doghoused. "Quack psychology". I guess I can be accused of listening to the current President's spokespeople on TV explaining why sending those planes out of a U.S. base, could lead to a direct confrontation with Russia. My bad. I should never listen to them. Sort of like the President cutting everything his predecessor did in the first week…. Except Afghanistan. For some reason, THAT was the ONLY thing the previous President promised, that he could not break. So THAT was the one time I listened to the President. It won't happen again.

What I want is for Europe to take the lead for a change. Send those planes from some base run by someone other than the US. Take on the consequences of your actions. Why is the US is not wanted by Europe, except when trouble rears it ugly head. Than it is: "Why doesn't the US do this…" "Why isn't the US doing that….". The trouble always seems to start elsewhere. The US isn't invading the Ukraine. Another European country is. Isn't this the exact same areas that WW1 and WW2 started? Were not both of those caused by silly alliances that allowed no one any leeway to make decisions?

What world wars has the US ever started? Now let's count how many multi country wars Europe has started?

Umpapa28 Jan 2023 11:02 a.m. PST

Actually, polish MiG-29 were found in Ukraine:



At the start of the war, Poland sent a number of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine under the guise of "spare parts" according to the newspaper DGP.

Government sources told the newspaper that they "also classified the fuselage or wings of the plane as spare parts."

Thats may be explanation of rapid integration with NATO HARM missiles (which Poles did and Ukrainians didnt, but miraculosly gained such ability).

So to answer the OP: yes, they were.

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