Slovakia is in talks with NATO allies and the United States to provide its fleet of MiG-29AS/UBS fighters to Ukraine. Speaking to POLITICO following a trip to Ukraine late last week, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said his government has been asked to provide Ukraine with Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter aircraft and Slovak-made Zuzana self-propelled howitzers, with discussions ongoing. Ukraine has been pleading with Western governments for more weapons and equipment ahead of an expected new Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. Slovakia wanted to move away from reliance on the MiGs in any case, as one “cannot sustain” Soviet equipment without a “relationship” with Russia.
Slovakia has already implemented one swap in recent days, sending a S-300 PMU (SA-10F Grumble) air-defence system to Ukraine. In exchange, Slovakia is now receiving an American Patriot missile system. Assistance provided by the Slovak Republic is sole defensive to support the self-defense capabilities of Ukraine and protection of innocent lives from further aggression by the Russian Armed Forces. This comes in reaction to the request of Ukraine for assistance in its exercise of self-defense in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter as a direct consequence of armed aggression by Russia.
Heger did not put a number on how many MiGs Slovakia could give, the country is reported to have around a dozen. Currently, the Ukrainian air force operates MiG-29 fighter aircraft. The Slovak MiG-29 can be quickly used by Ukrainian pilots without specific training. The United States would not stand in the way of a possible transfer of Slovakian fighter jets to Ukraine.Slovakia signed a deal in 2018 to buy 14 jets, worth around $1.6 billion, to replace ageing Russian-made MiG-29 planes, as a part of efforts to modernise its military. The first deliveries of new U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Slovakia will come a year later than expected, in 2024.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) is a twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, the MiG-29, was developed to counter new U.S. fighters such as the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. Slovak Air Force operates 10 MiG-29ASs and 2 MiG-29UBSs in service since 2008. These aircraft were upgraded by the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG and Western companies in 2007 and 2008 to fulfill the NATO requirements. They are maintained by Russian military technicians at Slia? Air Base.