Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia is edging closer to a decision on the delivery of its fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, but no deal has been finalised yet.
Speaking alongside British counterpart Ben Wallace, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Monday that the fate of the country’s 11 MiG-29s will be discussed once the fleet is grounded, “most probably” by the end of August.
“No decision has been made yet, no discussions are taking place as of now and we’re ready to discuss that later on,” Nad said.
Slovakia has for several months been in talks with Kyiv and Western allies regarding the possibility of donating its small fleet of Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine.
It has already donated or sold numerous heavy weapons to its neighbour to the east, including the S-300 air defence system, military helicopters, and self-propelled howitzers.
Neighbouring Czech Republic and Poland have stepped forward to say they were ready to help Slovakia guard its airspace should the country go ahead with the donations. The UK could also be ready to offer some fighter jets to Slovakia, Defence Secretary Wallace said this week.
“Politically, yes, I can tell you there’s a positive attitude of helping Ukrainians with MiG-29s,” Jaroslav Nad said, however insisting that the delivery should be part of a broader agreement with NATO allies to “take into account financial aspects and other aspects of delivery”.
Even before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Slovakia had signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Washington to replace its fleet of Russian-made MiG-29s with 14 US F-16 fighter jets. The start of their delivery has however been postponed by two years to 2024.