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

MALAKI, Slovakia (Reuters) – Slovakia signed an agreement on Saturday under which fellow NATO states the Czech Republic and Poland will police its skies as Bratislava withdraws its Soviet-made MiG-29s from service, potentially freeing older jets to be sent to Ukraine. .

Slovakia has said it is ready to send 11 MiG fighters to Ukraine, whose military has long relied on Soviet-era equipment and which has called for more supplies from NATO nations to boost its ability to fight invading Russian forces.

Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav told reporters at an air show on Saturday that Bratislava was ready to send planes to neighboring Ukraine but no deal had yet been reached.

“There is political will and it makes sense to help those who need help,” Nad said. “The possibility is on the table, and we’ll let you know once a deal is done.”

Western nations and their allies are stepping up military aid to Ukraine, providing cash, equipment and training in the more than six-month-old conflict with Russia.

Slovakia, a country of 5.4 million people, has already donated S-300 air defense systems, Mi-series military helicopters, self-propelled howitzers and Grad multiple-rocket launcher rockets. This week it said it would send 30 BVP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles.

Nad, whose MiGs are valued at about 300 million euros ($299 million), said Slovakia would seek some financial or material compensation to support the modernization of its military.

Under an agreement reached Saturday with Slovakia’s neighbors, the Czech Republic and Poland will protect its skies from September while Slovakia awaits the delivery of 14 new, US-built F-16 fighter jets. The F-16 contract was signed in 2018 and the jets are due for delivery in 2024.

($1 = 1.0039 euros)

(Reporting by Jiri Skakel in Malachi and Jason Howet in Prague; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source link

Leave a Comment