Slovakia’s neighbors will patrol its skies, releasing MiG planes for Ukraine


MALACKY, Slovakia, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Slovakia signed an agreement on Saturday under which NATO member states the Czech Republic and Poland will watch its skies as Bratislava retires its manufactured MiG-29s from service. Soviet, potentially freeing older jet aircraft. send to Ukraine.

Slovakia has said it is ready to send the 11 MiG fighters to Ukraine, whose military has long relied on Soviet-era equipment and has appealed for more supplies from EU countries. NATO to strengthen its ability to combat invading Russian forces.

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

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

Western nations and their allies have increased military aid to Ukraine with money, equipment and training in the more than six-month conflict with Russia.

Slovakia, which has a population of 5.4 million, has already donated an S-300 air defense system, Mi-series military helicopters, self-propelled howitzers and Grad multiple rocket launchers. This week it announced that it would send 30 BVP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles. Read more

Nad, who valued the MiGs at around 300 million euros ($299 million), said Slovakia would seek financial or material compensation for donations to support the modernization of its military.

Under Saturday’s deal with neighbors Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland will watch its skies from September as Slovakia awaits delivery of 14 new American-made F-16 fighters. The F-16 deal was signed in 2018 and the jets are due for delivery in 2024. read more

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Reporting by Jiri Skacel in Malacky and Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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