Germany permits export of fighters to Ukraine

German government approves Poland’s export application for MiG-29 from GDR stocks. Warsaw wants to give fighter jets to Ukraine

By Kristian Stemmler 

Instead of advocating negotiations, the federal government is pouring “even more oil into the fire of war” and risking an “uncontrollable conflagration”. Linke Co-Chairman Martin Schirdewan reacted with clear words on Friday to the news that the German government has approved the delivery of five MiG-29 fighter jets by Poland to Ukraine. A corresponding export application from Warsaw had been approved, the AFP news agency reported on Thursday evening. There was more than indignation in the Berlin political scene, including the capital’s press, delighted serenity about the quick approval. This was necessary because the aircraft originally came from the stocks of the National People’s Army of the GDR. 

With the approval, the traffic light “almost without comment tears down the next self-set red line,” criticized Schirdewan. The FRG is thus becoming “more and more a war party”. She once again opposes the majority of the population and simply shuts down “unpleasant debates about arms exports to war zones”. Sevim Dagdelen, chairwoman of the Left group in the Foreign Affairs Committee, made a similar statement on Twitter on Thursday evening. “After battle tanks, MiG-29 fighter jets are now being delivered to Ukraine. What was a red line for traffic lights yesterday will be delivered today. In the logic of this escalation policy, it is “only a matter of time until long-range missiles and eventually troops follow”. 

In the bourgeois media, the news was reported rather incidentally. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) also pretended that the place for the delivery of the MiGs was a matter of course. The fact that the decision was already taken on the same day that Poland had submitted the application shows: “You can rely on Germany!” he explained in Bamako, the capital of Mali. There, the minister visited the Bundeswehr units, which are preparing for the withdrawal in May. 

According to Pistorius, it is about MiGs because they are known to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and “can be used immediately”, because both “maintenance and repair and maintenance are possible almost smoothly and seamlessly”. Pistorius could not see a change of course in the German yes to fighter planes. With this, the Social Democrat ignored the fact that the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine had long been excluded. 

Dietmar Bartsch, co-chairman of the Left parliamentary group, pointed out that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had “de facto ruled out such a step” during a survey in the Bundestag in January. Bartsch accused the federal government of “a confusing game with parliament and the public”. Countries like Brazil are calling for peace initiatives, the federal government is doing the opposite. The export permit was a “fatal wrong decision”. 

Pistorius’ predecessor Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had sharply criticized Poland’s move to supply MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine just over a year ago. Chancellor Scholz had also clearly positioned himself at that time. He said in March 2022 that it was necessary to think very carefully about what to do. The delivery of combat aircraft was “certainly” not one of them. At that time, Poland also still ruled out a direct delivery of combat aircraft to Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, Warsaw has already supplied Kiev with eight of its MiG-29 jets manufactured in the Soviet Union. Polish President Andrzej Duda announced at the beginning of April that his country wanted to provide Ukraine with “its entire MiG fleet” of about 30 aircraft. Meanwhile, FDP bellicist Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann practiced relativization. The MiG is “not a German fighter aircraft” and is suitable “to parry Russian aircraft attacks under certain circumstances”. This is something completely different from the delivery of aircraft, “which could have an impact far into the Russian space,” said the Liberal on Thursday. You don’t want that. 

Published by Junge Welt, 15.4.2022, translated automatically

Germany Approves Poland’s Request to Send MiG-29 Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Some of Poland’s MiG-29s came from Germany, requiring Berlin’s approval for the export

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Categories The German government has approved Poland’s request to export five Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine that originally came from Berlin’s stockpile.

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Poland and Slovakia have already delivered some MiG-29s to Ukraine, making them the first NATO countries to provide Kyiv with fighter jets, an escalation of military support that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz previously warned against.

“There will be no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine,” Scholz said in January. He also warned against “entering into a constant competition to outbid each other when it comes to weapons systems” that are being sent to Ukraine.

While the MiG-29s are not the Western-made aircraft Kyiv has been demanding, the provision still marks a significant escalation of NATO military support.

In March 2022, when Poland first offered its MiG-29s to Ukraine, the Pentagon ruled it out over escalation concerns. NATO diplomats said at the time that Moscow could perceive the move as the alliance directly entering the war.

Polish pressure also led to Scholz approving the export of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine and Berlin sending its own. In September 2022, when expressing his opposition to sending tanks and planes to Kyiv, Scholz said he was supporting Ukraine “in a way that is not escalating to where it is becoming a war between Russia and NATO because this would be a catastrophe.”

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