Slovakia to donate 13 MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

AFP , Friday 17 Mar 2023

Slovakia will donate 13 MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine, the Slovak prime minister said Friday, making it the second NATO member to announce such a shipment following a similar move by Poland.

MiG fighter
File Photo: A view of a MIG-29 fighter jet, at the 11th SIAF International Aviation Day at the Malacky-Kuchyna Air Base, in Kuchyna, Slovakia, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. AP


"We will hand over 13 of our MiG-29 jets to Ukraine," Slovak premier Eduard Heger told journalists, adding that Bratislava would also deliver a Kub air defense system to Ukraine.

Ukraine has long requested fighter jets from Western allies, although seeking primarily modern US-made F-16s.

"Our steps are fully coordinated with Poland and Ukraine," Heger said, adding that his government "stands on the right side of history".

The Kremlin in response on Friday said the fighter jets given to Ukraine by Poland and Slovakia would be destroyed, and repeated that Western arms deliveries to Kyiv would not change Russia's military aims.

"The supply of this military equipment -- as we have repeatedly said -- will not change the outcome of the special military operation... Of course, all this equipment will be destroyed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, using the official term for Moscow's military intervention.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday announced that Warsaw would send four Soviet-made MiG-29 jets to Ukraine "in the coming days".

Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said the transfer of MiGs from Slovakia to Kyiv will take "a couple of weeks".

The Slovak batch will include 10 operational MiG-29 fighter jets and an additional three that have not been operational since 2008.

Slovakia also has one other Mig-29 that will be placed in a military museum at home.

Slovakia plans to replace the jets with American F-16s. The changeover should take place no later than January 2024.

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