Slovakia Next To Announce Jet Transfer To Ukraine, Coordinating With Poland
Slovakia is following Poland in preparations to transfer Soviet-made jets to Ukraine, announcing plans to deliver 13 MiG-29 fighter jets. This comes a day after Polish President Andrzej Duda announced his country will send around a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets, or possibly up to 19.
Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger specifically referenced Warsaw’s decision as setting the momentum on transferring jets. “Glad others are doing the same,” Heger said. He stressed that the fighter aircraft will help Kiev “defend itself and the entire Europe against Russia.”
He also affirmed Slovakia has closely coordinated the decision “with the Polish side, Ukraine and other allies” – asserting also the allies are “on the right side of history.”
Though the Biden administration has remained resistant to calls from Congressional hawks to send F-16s, Washington may possibly have worked behind the scenes regarding Poland and Slovakia sending MiG fighters. Certainly other European allies did, according to The Associated Press:
Slovakia will receive 200 million euros ($213 million) from the European Union as compensation and unspecified arms from the United States worth 700 million euros ($745 million) in exchange for giving its MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said.
The Kremlin reacted to the announcements by Poland and Slovakia by pointing out it’s another significant step revealing NATO’s “direct” involvement in the Ukraine war.
Russian presidency spokesman Dmitry Peskov said NATO members are “raising the level of their direct involvement in the conflict.”
“The equipment deliveries naturally won’t have any impact on the outcome of the special military operation, but it may bring more misfortune to Ukraine and Ukrainian people,” Peskov added in a phone briefing with reporters.
In March of 2022 an attempt by Poland to send MiGs on the condition that Washington would replace its fleet with more advanced US-made jets fell apart after the Biden administration said it was premature, denying that such a plan was ever put in place. But now there appears greater political momentum for exploring such a scheme again as calls grow louder on both sides of the Atlantic.