UK wants to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine

By Jen Krausz on
 February 25, 2023

The United Kingdom wants to send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine, or at least facilitate other countries sending them, according to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

Wallace said that the UK would "backfill" any Soviet-era or older Russian jets Eastern European countries send to Ukraine with their own stockpiles, adding that the UK would provide security for those nations.

In an interview, Wallace said:

The other quick way that Ukraine can benefit from fighter jets is for those countries in Europe that have Russian Soviet fighter jets — MiG 29s or Su-24s — if they wish to donate, we can use our fighter jets to backfill and provide security for them as a result, or indeed to backfill to allow them to have their own capability because they are already configured to fight in a NATO way, where of course Ukraine isn’t.

Poland has already offered MIG-29s to Ukraine.

Wallace added:

The point here is that from a leadership point of view the UK has offered, in the same way that the United States have on some other types of equipment, that if [Eastern European allies] wish to do that and are worried about your security as a result of it, we can come and backfill to help support that.

The U.K. isn't sending its own Typhoon fighters into the area because Ukraine soldiers aren't trained to use them, and the country isn't willing to send "hundreds of personnel" into the area to train them.