| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

Slovakia’s neighbours to patrol its skies, freeing MiG jets for Ukraine

Slovakia reached an agreement on Saturday with the Czech Republic and Poland to patrol its skies as Bratislava retires its Soviet-made MiG-29s, possibly freeing up the outdated planes to transfer to Ukraine.

Slovakia has stated that it is ready to provide the 11 MiG aircraft to Ukraine, whose military has long relied on Soviet-era weaponry and has requested further weapons from NATO states in order to combat invading Russian forces.

Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav told reporters at an aviation show on Saturday that Bratislava was still willing to transfer the planes to Ukraine, but no agreement had been made.

“There is political will and it makes sense to assist people in need,” Nad added. “The prospect is on the table, and once an agreement is reached, we will notify you.”

Western nations and their allies have increased military help to Ukraine in the six-month-old conflict with Russia, providing cash, equipment, and training.

Slovakia has previously sent an S-300 air defense system, Mi-series military helicopters, self-propelled howitzers, and Grad multiple-rocket launcher rockets. It said this week that it will send 30 tracked infantry combat BVP-1 vehicles.

Nad, who valued the MiGs at over 300 million euros ($299 million), stated that Slovakia will demand financial or material reimbursement for its gifts to promote military modernization.

According to the agreement reached with Slovakia’s neighbors on Saturday, the Czech Republic and Poland will patrol the skies beginning in September, while Slovakia awaits delivery of 14 new, American-made F-16 aircraft. The F-16 contract was signed in 2018, and the planes are scheduled to arrive in 2024.

  • Reuters