Slovakia has been in quite a bizarre position since the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine – it is the only EU and NATO country which relies on Russian technicians to keep it fighter jets airborne. They are based at the airbase in Sliač (Banská Bystrica Region).
Even though it is highly improbable that Slovakia will become involved in the war in Ukraine, its only regional adversary is Russia. In this context, Slovakia's dependence on Russian technicians is a problem.
“If the conflict escalates, we can’t rely on the Russian technicians,” said Pavel Macko, retired lieutenant general. “Regardless of their technical condition, we would have to ground these jets.”