WARSAW, March 17 (AFP) - Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday (Mar 16) said Warsaw would deliver an initial batch of four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, in what would be the first such shipment by a NATO member.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked its Western allies to send warplanes - although seeking primarily modern US-made F-16s - but so far no Western countries had committed to give jets to Kyiv.

"In the coming days we will first transfer, if I remember correctly, four fully operational planes to Ukraine," Duda told reporters of the Soviet-designed jets.

Sending any fighter jets would mark a crucial development in the conflict and would boost Kyiv's defence against Russian missile strikes and drone attacks.

Poland has been spearheading efforts to send more equipment to Ukraine and convince the West to follow suit.

Duda said Poland currently has a dozen or so MiG planes that it inherited from the former German Democratic Republic, which they are "on the verge" of sending to Ukraine.

"These MiGs are still in service in Poland's air force. They're in their last years of operation but are still for the most part in full working order," he said.

He also added that MiGs are "jets that Ukrainian pilots can operate today without any additional training".

A Ukrainian military spokesman said the country was "grateful to our partners".

"MiGs will not solve the tasks, we need F-16s. But MiGs will help to strengthen our capabilities indeed," Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said.