Slovakia is ready to transfer Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets and battle tanks to Ukraine, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said in an interview with the Czech channel ST24 on July 3.
“I don’t want to talk about it in detail, because Ukraine asked us not to go into detail,” Heger said. Czech Prime Minister Peter Fiala gave an interview alongside him.
The leaders of the two countries announced that from September, the Czech Republic will help Slovakia protect its airspace.
“I don’t see any problem there, the government will certainly approve it,” Fiala said during the interview.
Heger announcement is yet another attempt to support Kiev forces in the face of the Russian military that has been conducting a special operation in Ukraine since late February.
The Slovak Air Force has nine MiG-29AS fighter jets and a single MiG-29UBS trainer which it inherited from the Czechoslovak Air Force. The fighter jets were upgraded by Russia’s RAC MiG and Western firms, starting from 2005.
The MiG-29s were equipped with navigation and communications systems from Rockwell Collins, an identification friend or foe system from BAE Systems, new glass cockpit features multi-function LC displays and digital processors and also fitted to be integrate with Western equipment in the future. However, the armaments of the fighter jets remain unchanged.
Slovakia ordered 14 F-16V fighter jets from the United States in 2018 to replace its MiG-29s. The first planes were expected to arrive this year and the shipment to be completed in the next year, but the delivery is now assumed to take place in 2024.
In April, Slovakia sent its only S-300PMU long-range air-defense system to Ukraine. The system was reportedly destroyed just days after the delivery as a result of a Russian missile strike on the Dnipro International Airport.
While the Ukrainian Air Force is still operating on a low-scale, it does not appear to be able to conduct any meaningful operations. The supply of additional fighter jets from Slovakia will not likely pose any challenge to Russian air supremacy over Ukraine.