BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia may consider donating its fleet of Soviet-era MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, the Slovak Defense Minister said on Monday.
Along with his British counterpart Ben Wallace, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said “we can discuss the future” of his country’s 11 MiG-29 fighter jets after they were “most likely” grounded by the end of the day. end of August.
Slovakia has already negotiated with NATO allies the Czech Republic and Poland to monitor Slovak airspace from early September.
“No decision has been made yet, no discussions are taking place at the moment and we are ready to discuss it later,” Nad said.
Wallace said Britain was not considering giving fighter jets to Ukraine, but would offer fighter jets to Slovakia to help protect its airspace.
Since the start of the invasion on February 24, Ukraine has urged Western allies to provide it with warplanes to challenge Russia’s air superiority.
However, the United States and its allies have been reluctant to give Ukraine the fighter jets it requests, fearing this will escalate the response from Moscow, which has warned NATO that providing the fighter jets would be tantamount to joining the conflict.
Nad said supplying fighter jets to Ukraine would require a broader discussion with allies about the implications of such a delivery.
“But politically, yes, I can tell you that there is a positive attitude to helping the Ukrainians with Mi-29s.”
Slovakia has signed an agreement to buy 14 American F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets to replace its MiG-29s, but the start of their delivery has been postponed by two years to 2024.
Slovakia has supplied Ukraine with heavy weapons since the start of the war. His donations include a Soviet-era S-300 air defense system, military helicopters and thousands of Grad multiple rocket launchers. Slovakia also sold Ukrainian self-propelled howitzers.