SLOVAKIA'S armed forces will deploy its Russian-made MiG-29 fighters to provide airspace security during the Bush-Putin summit on February 24.
Chief commander of the Slovak Air Force, Jozef Dunaj said: "We will be on permanent patrol during the summit in order to prevent any incidents," according to the TASR news service.
The fighter jets will be on alert in the air and on the ground. "There is a precise schedule for the most crucial hours to be able to avoid any action in the airspace," Dunaj said.
MiG-29 fighters began with training flights over Bratislava on Friday. Defence Ministry spokesman Zenon Mikle confirmed that the jets were practising security provisions for the summit.
On February 16, the Slovak Government approved a regulation concerning procedures against the illegal violation of Slovakia's airspace.
The Slovak armed forces are permitted to take action against any targets that could be used for a terrorist attack. In case of any threat, the Air Force is ready for immediate action, Dunaj said.
If a civilian airplane violates Slovak airspace the Slovak military can, as a last resort, shoot the plane down. Only Defence Minister Juraj Liska can order this.
Other measures include diverting the flight, forced landing, the threat of using weapons and warning shots.
Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports
21. Feb 2005 at 12:32