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Slovakia’s authorities approves plan to ship Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets

Slovakia’s authorities on Friday authorized a plan to offer Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, changing into the second NATO member nation to heed the Ukrainian authorities’s pleas for warplanes to assist defend towards Russia’s invasion.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger stated throughout a information convention asserting the choice that his authorities was “on the best aspect of historical past.” Earlier, Heger tweeted that army assist was key to making sure Ukraine can defend itself and all of Europe towards Russia.

Poland introduced Thursday that it could give Ukraine round a dozen MiG-29s, beginning with 4 anticipated to be delivered within the coming days. Both Poland and Slovakia had indicated beforehand they have been able to grant Ukraine’s requests for army plane, however solely as a part of a wider worldwide coalition.

Heger stated his authorities’s transfer “is intently coordinated with the Polish aspect, Ukraine and different allies.”


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated the promised planes have been one other instance of NATO members “elevating the extent of their direct involvement within the battle.”

“The tools deliveries naturally received’t have any affect on the result of the particular army operation, however it could carry extra misfortune to Ukraine and Ukrainian individuals,” Peskov stated throughout a convention name with reporters.

Slovakia will obtain $213 million from the European Union as compensation and unspecified arms from the United States price $745 million in alternate for giving its MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad stated.

Slovakia’s government approved a plan to give Ukraine a fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets. Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced the decision on March 17, 2023.

Slovakia’s authorities authorized a plan to offer Ukraine a fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets. Prime Minister Eduard Heger introduced the choice on March 17, 2023. (Jozef Durník/TASR through AP, File)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly requested Western nations for fighter jets, however NATO allies held off, citing concern about escalating the alliance’s position within the struggle.

In response to Poland’s announcement on Thursday, the White House stated Warsaw’s transfer would haven’t any bearing on President Joe Biden, who has resisted calls to supply U.S. F-16s to Ukraine, and that it was as much as different nations to elucidate their very own positions.

Michał Baranowski, managing director of Warsaw-based GMF East, a part of the German Marshall Fund suppose tank, stated altering circumstances now allow such a transfer because the preliminary reluctance to answer Ukraine’s request.

“Many purple traces have been crossed since that dialogue final yr,” Baranowski informed The Associated Press by cellphone. Sending MiGs now “isn’t the identical troublesome political sale that it was final yr.”


Ukraine will be capable to use the MiGs instantly without having any coaching.

Zelenskyy appealed on to Heger for plane at an EU summit in Brussels final month.

Slovakia grounded its MiGs in the summertime attributable to a scarcity of spare elements and experience to assist preserve them after Russian technicians returned dwelling. In the absence of its personal plane, fellow NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic stepped in to watch Slovak air area.

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine had a number of dozen MiG-29s it inherited within the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, nevertheless it’s unclear what number of stay in service after greater than a yr of combating.

The Slovak authorities that made the choice to signal a bilateral take care of Ukraine for the jets has solely restricted powers after a December no-confidence vote introduced down the coalition authorities that was fashioned after the nation’s 2020 election.


The subsequent election is ready for September, when the opposition stands a very good likelihood of successful. Its leaders embody populist former Prime Minister Robert Fico, who opposes army help for Ukraine and EU sanctions on Russia and has stated Slovakia’s authorities has no mandate to ship fighter jets to Ukraine.

Opposition events together with Fico’s Smer-Social Democracy get together rejected the federal government’s determination Friday, threatening to sue.

Slovakia signed a deal to purchase 14 U.S. F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets, however supply was pushed again two years to early 2024.

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