Slovakia will try to send its entire MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA — The President of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky met with the Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger. This happened on February 9 during the extraordinary EU summit. According to the TASR agency, Mr. Zelensky asked Mr. Heger to send [donate or sell] the MiG-29 supersonic fighter jets that are no longer in use in Slovakia.
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Mr. Heger, according to the agency, assured Zelensky that Slovakia would do everything possible to fulfill the Ukrainian president’s request. This issue will be discussed in the republic and at the EU level. Aid to Ukraine, as the Slovak politician said, “is in line with the national interests of Slovakia and the interests of European security.”
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Slovakia withdrew the MiG-29 squadron from the national air force at the end of August 2022. Currently, 12 Slovak MiG-29s are unused and grounded. Already last year in July, there was talk about the possibility of Slovakia donating the 12 fighter jets to Ukraine. This came after the Czech Republic took responsibility for guarding Slovak skies with 12 F-16 fighter jets.
A month later, in August, Bratislava accused Moscow of using propaganda tools to influence public opinion. Especially regarding the delivery of military aid to Ukraine. According to the survey, in that period of 2022, only half of the respondents agreed that Slovakia should sell its MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine.
Then there was talk of 300 million euros, which Ukraine is ready to pay Slovakia for the acquisition of the 12 MiG-29s. Despite the poll, Bratislava announced that it would not end its military support for Ukraine, but remained silent on the issue of the sale of the fighter jets. “The support will continue, despite all Russian efforts to influence public opinion,” Slovak Defense Minister Mr. Jaroslav Nagy said at the time.
Mr. Nagy said in the same statement that attempts by Russian propaganda will not change the mood among the population of Slovakia to stop or block further transfers of military equipment to Ukraine.
In the same poll, 62% of the Slovak population perceives Russia as a threat. The remaining 37% still believe that Moscow is Slovakia’s most important strategic partner.
Currently, the Slovak skies continue to be guarded by the Czech Air Force and their F-16s. Slovakia has ordered 14 F-16C/D units from Lockheed Martin, which are in production and are due to be delivered to Bratislava in the coming years.
MiG-29 could be attractive to Ukraine
The Slovakian MiG-29 could be attractive to Ukraine for two reasons. First, they operate and are located in a neighboring country. Second, they come from a newer version than the others and have undergone a fairly simple upgrade process that mainly involves navigation, connectivity, and IFF systems to bring the machines up to NATO standards.
Perhaps before handing it over to Ukraine, some of this equipment will have to be dismantled, but the way they have used means that Slovak fighters can be used immediately and remain in service much longer than, for example, Bulgarian ones because they are serviced quite regularly and efficiently by manufacturers.
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