Days after the start of the war, Poland gave MiG-29s to Ukraine

A section from Zbigniew Parafjanowicz’s “Poland at War” is making its rounds on social media and news sites, shedding light on new information regarding Russia’s war against Ukraine – specifically Warsaw’s support for Ukraine, both overt and covert. 

Poland has delivered MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine but in parts
Polish Air Force MiG-29 © Sunburn1979 on Wikimedia

Notably, the book indicates that Poland secretly aided Ukraine with aviation support in March 2022. Curious about how it was achieved? 

Per Parafjanowicz’s narrative, Polish experts disassembled roughly a dozen MiG-29 aircraft. These spare parts were then tactically spread along the border regions, subtly hinting to the Ukrainians that there were valuable resources in those areas. 

Such information implies that Poland had begun providing Ukraine with fighter planes in the spring of 2022, nearly a year before officially announcing its participation in the ‘aircraft coalition’

However, closer scrutiny of other public information suggests that in March of the previous year, Warsaw essentially presented Kyiv with a collection of spare parts that enabled the deployment of several MiG-29 aircraft. 

As a start, let’s consider some data from external sources. According to the ‘Military Balance 2023’ guide, Poland had a total of 28 MiG-29s at the start of this year, including six combat training planes. 

Interestingly, ‘The Military Balance’ provides the same data for 2021, suggesting no recorded removal of any MiG-29s from the Polish Air Force for transfer to Ukraine. 

Another aspect to consider is the creation of Poland’s MiG-29 fleet in the 2000s. In addition to the 10 planes received from the USSR in the 1980s, Poland also gained up to 9 aircraft from the Czech Republic and 24 from Germany. 

Simple mathematics leads to the easy assumption that Poland, as of February 2022, could indeed have amassed ‘about a dozen’ MiG-29s to act as ‘spare parts donors’. These aircraft could theoretically be used for clandestine aviation aid to Ukraine in March 2022. 

Besides, there’s another viewpoint to ponder over. Between 2011 and 2014, Poland modernized 15 MiG-29 planes in partnership with Israel, replacing all onboard equipment with modern equipment, compliant with NATO standards. 

However, it’s improbable that Poland would discard the former Soviet avionics from these planes. Instead, they may have stored them, eventually ‘sharing’ them with Ukraine unofficially in March 2022.


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