Slovakia will hand over its fleet of 13 Soviet fighter planes to Ukraine to defend against Russian invasion

Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jet flies near the Malacky airbase near Malacky, Slovakia. REUTERS/David W Cerny (DAVID W CERNY/)

The government of Slovakia approved a plan to give Ukraine his fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jetsbecoming the second member country of the NATO in agreeing to comply with the Ukrainian government’s pleas for warplanes to help defend against the invasion of Russia. .

The first Minister Edward Heger announced his government’s unanimous decision on Friday. Slovakia grounded its fleet last year and no longer uses the planes.

“Promises must be kept and when Zelensky asked for more weapons, including fighter jets, I said we will do everything we can,” Heger tweeted, adding that military aid was key to ensuring Ukraine could “defend itself and all Europe against Russia”.

On Thursday, the president of Poland said his country would give Ukraine about a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets. President Andrzej Duda It said on Thursday that Poland will deliver four of the Soviet-made fighter jets in the coming days and others in need of service to be supplied later.

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.  REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo (INTS KALNINS/)

Both Poland and Slovakia had indicated that they were ready to hand over their planes, but only as part of a broader international coalition to do the same.

It is not clear if other countries would also share their military aircraft. The debate on whether to provide Ukraine, which is not a member of the NATOmilitary fighter jets began last year, but NATO allies abstained, citing concerns about the escalation of the alliance’s role in the war.

Duda said that Poland currently has a dozen MiG aircraft which he inherited from the former German Democratic Republic.

“These MiGs are still in service with the Polish air force. They are in their last few years of operation, but for the most part are still working at full capacity”Duda said.

The MiGs transferred to Ukraine will be replaced in their country by South Korean FA-50 aircraft purchased by Poland, to be followed by American F-35.

Earlier on Thursday, the Polish Defense Minister, Mariusz Blaszczakhad said that Poland wanted to transfer MiG-29 jets to Ukraine “within the framework of a broader coalition of countries.”

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.  REUTERS/Johanna Geron
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. REUTERS/Johanna Geron (JOHANNA GERON/)

Asked about the countries of this coalition, Blaszczak mentioned Slovakiabut added that “of course we are open to others.”

“We absolutely want to carry out our activity within the framework of a coalition,” he added.

Last year, Slovakiaa neighbor of Poland, had said that she was willing to discuss the shipment of MiG-29 aircraft to help replace the losses of Ukraine’s current reserves.

However, since then no final decision has been made.

Duda made the Polish announcement after holding talks with his Czech counterpart Peter Pavelformer general of the NATO.

The president’s comments came after his defense minister earlier said the Polish counterintelligence had dismantled a Russian spy network.

Blaszczak told Polish public radio that it was an “espionage group… collecting information for those who attacked Ukraine.”

(With information from AP)

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