Slovakia is willing to donate its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine if an arrangement can be made to secure the country’s own airspace.
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Apr. 11, 2022 that his country is willing to donate its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine if an arrangement can be made to secure the country’s own airspace, Alert 5 says.
Ukraine has asked for heavy weapons and planes as part of its defense against Russia, which invaded on Feb. 24.
As reported by National Post, western nations have increasingly started supplying weapons but earlier discussions on providing MiG-29s – which are also used by Poland and Bulgaria – were halted because those plans were perceived as too risky in increasing tensions between Russia and NATO.
Slovakia, a NATO member and Ukraine’s neighbor, operates a fleet of 12 MiG-29 fighter jets.
“After how the Russian Federation has behaved now, Soviet-made equipment is becoming very risky. Therefore your question is in place and comes into consideration,” Heger said in response to a reporter’s question about asking allies to help secure Slovak air space and the possibility of giving MiG-29s to Ukraine.
“Post-Soviet equipment is not sustainable without Russian supplies and we do not at this moment even want those,” he said.
Heger said the defense ministry was in talks about securing the airspace with war planes.
Slovakia signed a deal in 2018 to buy 14 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon jets, worth around $1.6 billion, to replace ageing Russian-made MiG-29 planes, as a part of efforts to modernise its military.
The Block 70/72 is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades.
The delivery of the first F-16 aircraft to Slovakia will come a year later than expected, in 2024, the Slovak Defence Ministry said on Mar. 10, 2022.
The ministry said the delay was due to supply issues coming from the two-year-old coronavirus pandemic and the global chip shortage.
Photo credit: Łukasz Golowanow via Wikipedia