NATO member names condition for giving war planes to Ukraine — Analysis
Slovakia declares it needs NATO replacements for the MiG-29 fighters that it has before they are sent to Kiev
Slovakia’s NATO allies would need to offer money or replacement fighters if they expect Bratislava to send a dozen MiG-29 jets to Ukraine at the end August, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Monday. Nad, speaking alongside Ben Wallace of Britain who called for more weapons from Slovakia, said that his government was open to discussions but wouldn’t commit.
“We are open to discussion to donate those MiG-29s to Ukraine but certainly this will require, I would say, a broader discussion about taking into account financial aspects and all other aspects of delivery, so no decision has been made yet,”Nad said this to reporters.
Bratislava received a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets in 1992 from the Czechoslovak military air force “velvet divorce”Prague. The Eleven remaining F-16s are still in operation, although the Slovak government stated that it intends to retire them before the end August. F-16s from the US were meant to replace them in late this year. But, delivery of these F-16s has been delayed until 2024.
“Politically, yes, I can tell you there’s a positive attitude of helping Ukrainians with MiG-29s,”Nad stated this to reporters. Sky News editor Deborah Haynes said that he had explained to reporters that Slovakia was. “not big enough”The planes could be donated by the donor alone, and without consulting NATO allies. He added that each MiG-29 has a value of approximately $35 Million.
“No decision has been made yet, no discussions are taking place as of now and we’re ready to discuss that later on,”Nad.
Czechia had earlier in the month pledged its support for Slovak airspace police, following similar pledges from Poland. It was widely believed that this signalled to Bratislava that it would continue with the MiG transfer.
NATO has been pushing former Warsaw Pact members – mainly Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia – still operating Soviet-designed jets to send them to Kiev as replacements for Ukrainian losses. No one has officially done this yet. The chief of the US Air Force suggested last week that Western planes be sent.
Slovakia has followed Poland’s lead in supplying weapons to Ukraine, offering howitzers, helicopters and ammunition and reportedly even considering T-72 tanks. Warsaw dispatched hundreds of T-72s to Ukraine since April. However, Polish hopes of getting the newer German Leopards as replacements were dashed by Berlin saying it didn’t have any to spare. Warsaw made a deal to buy 116 M1 Abrams main battlefield tanks from the US in mid-June.