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EU countries, NATO members say they won't send fighter planes to Ukraine

EU countries, NATO members say they won't send fighter planes to Ukraine
A Soviet-era MiG-19 on display in South Korea in 2013, an older version of the aircraft Ukraine said would be given to it by Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, before all three countries clarified Tuesday, they would not be sending the fighter jets to assist. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- Members of NATO and the European Union will not be sending fighter jets to Ukraine, they said Tuesday.

This decision comes after EU security chief Josep Borrell said Sunday that the EU brokered a deal allowing its members to transfer the planes to Ukraine as it defends itself against the Russian invasion.

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Borrell then backtracked slightly Monday, saying that any help would come directly from individual countries and not from the EU itself. He mentioned Slovakia, Bulgaria and Poland as countries that would supply the Russian-made aircraft.

However, all three countries said separately Tuesday they would not be sending aircraft. Doing so would represent an escalation, drawing the EU or NATO into the conflict.

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Ukrainian pilots are only able to fly Russian-built fighter jets.

The country's government tweeted it was expecting 70 aircraft, made up of Russian MiG-29s and SU25s.

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Slovakia pointed to the aid it already had sent to Ukraine in the form of fuel, ammunition and weapons.

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said Monday that his country's air force does not have enough planes to guard its own airspace.

"We currently have few flying planes, and they cannot be delivered to another country," Petrov said, according to Newsweek.

"The other fake news I heard today is that we will be sending troops to Ukraine. There is absolutely nothing true in these two allegations," he said.

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Polish President Andrej Duda said after a NATO press conference, "We are not sending any jets to Ukraine because that would open a military interference in the Ukrainian conflict. We are not joining that conflict. NATO is not a party to that conflict."

Australia and Canada have announced additional supplies of weapons to Ukraine.

The embattled European nation has called on world leaders to arm it in its fight against a Russian invasion.

On Tuesday, Australia pledged $50 million to buy lethal and non-lethal weapons for Kyiv, as well provide as $25 million in humanitarian support, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference.

"We're talking missiles, we're talking ammunition, we're talking supporting them in their defense of their own homeland in Ukraine, and we'll be doing that in partnership with NATO," he said.

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He added: "I don't plan to give the Russian government a heads-up about what's coming their way, but I can assure them it's coming your way."

Since Russia's predawn attack Thursday, Ukrainian officials have called on world leaders to impose sanctions and to supply it with weapons, stating they will defend their country themselves if given the means to do so.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been quoted as telling U.S. officials offering him an exit out of his country that "I need ammunition, not a ride."

"President Zelensky said don't give me a ride, give me ammunition, and that's exactly what the Australian government has agreed to do," Morrison told reporters.

Hours earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during a press conference its fourth shipment of lethal and non-lethal weapons to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons systems and upgraded ammunition.

The weapons shipment coincides with Ottawa's intent to ban all imports of Russian crude oil and a review of Russia Today's presence on Canadian airwaves by the local telecommunications regulator to prevent Russian propaganda from spreading throughout the nation.

Airlift support for the transportation of supplies also was to be be provided.

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"It is increasingly clear that President [Vladimir] Putin has made a grave miscalculation," Trudeau said. "Our message is clear: This unnecessary war must stop now."

The announcement came a day after Ottawa said it was sending an additional $25 million in military aid to address Ukraine's ask of Canada for helmets, body armor, gas masks, night vision gear and other protective equipment.

Those supplies are in addition to the European Union saying Monday it was to conduct its first-ever purchase and delivery of weapons to a nation under attack. Germany on the weekend made a dramatic shift in its foreign relations policy by providing Ukraine with 500 stinger missiles.

Belgium on Sunday also said it would give Ukraine 3,000 machineguns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers.

Scenes from the Russian war on Ukraine

European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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