Slovakia to send MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine
March 17 (Reuters) – Slovakia on Friday became Ukraine’s second ally to supply MIG-29 fighter jets, which Kyiv sees as essential to repel a Russian invasion that has lasted more than a year.
Bratislava thus joins Poland, which announced Thursday the delivery of four MIG-29 fighter planes to Ukraine, whose two countries, which are members of NATO, are neighbors.
Slovakia’s fleet of 11 MiG-29 aircraft was withdrawn from service last summer and most aircraft are not operational. The Slovak government will send the machines ready for use and the rest will be used as spare parts.
Slovakia will also supply part of its KUB air defense system, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger has said.
“Today the government decided and unanimously approved an international agreement (on the donation),” said Eduard Heger.
“The process of refurbishing these combat aircraft is closely coordinated with Poland, Ukraine and, of course, other allies,” he added.
Slovakia will receive financial compensation from the European Union. He also reached an agreement with the United States on deliveries of military equipment worth around 700 million dollars, said Eduard Heger.
NATO allies in the former communist Eastern European bloc, such as Poland and Slovakia, have been staunch supporters of Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Western countries that have supplied arms to Ukraine have so far refused to send fighter jets.
Slovakia ordered F-16 fighter jets from the United States in 2018 to replace aging MiG-29s. The first aircraft, made in the United States, are expected to arrive in 2024, after some delay.
For its part, Moscow reacted on Friday by saying that the fighter planes transmitted to Ukraine by the countries of Eastern Europe would be destroyed and would not change anything during the conflict.
(Report Robert Muller in Prague, written by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; French version Lina Golovnya, edited by Blandine Hénault)
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