Will Slovakia be the first country to officially send its jets to Ukraine?

Slovakia could reprise its bold move from last year, when it transferred its Soviet-era anti-aircraft missile system to Ukraine.

A MiG-29 jet flies above Sliač airport, central Slovakia, on August 22,2016. (Source: TASR - Ján Krošlák)

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) has been saying for almost a year that Slovakia will consider sending its squadron of grounded Soviet-made fighter aircraft to Ukraine as soon as its eastern neighbour officially asks for such military help.

SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement

“It is natural to use those systems where they can help the most,” he said last April.

Two weeks ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with fears rising that Russia may ramp up the use of its own jets and helicopters in the conflict, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Heger and other leaders during an EU summit in Brussels on February 9. During the meeting with the interim Slovak premier, Ukraine’s president expressed his hope that Slovakia would provide his country with its MiG-29 fighter jets.

“I have asked your prime minister to help us in this case,” Zelensky said.

Knowing of his interim administration’s limited powers, following the collapse of his government last December, Heger’s answer was brief and diplomatic.

SkryťTurn off ads

“You can count on our help.We want you to succeed,” the interim prime minister assured his partner.

Less than two months into the war, in April last year, Ukraine received a Soviet-made anti-aircraft missile system from Slovakia, followed by a demining system, five helicopters, various light weapons, 30 fighting vehicles, and ammunition. In addition, Ukraine has purchased several Slovak howitzers in the past few months.

Yet, Heger’s recent utterance has outraged part of the Slovak opposition. It is once again accusing his government of attempting to drag Slovakia into the war.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk
SkryťClose ad