Slovakia agrees to give Ukraine a fleet of Soviet warplanes

The Slovak government has approved a plan to equip Ukraine with its fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The Slovak government has approved a plan to give Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, becoming the second NATO member country to agree to heed Ukrainian government calls for that warplanes help defend against the Russian invasion. .

Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced his government’s unanimous decision on Friday. Slovakia grounded its fleet last year and no longer uses the jets.

“Promises must be kept & when @ZelenskyyUa asked for more #weapons incl. fighter jets, I said we will do our best,” Heger tweeted, adding that military aid was essential to ensure Ukraine could “defend itself.” & all of #Europe against #Russia.

On Thursday, the Polish president said his country would donate a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. President Andrzej Duda said Thursday that Poland would hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes in the coming days and others that need maintenance and will be supplied later.

Poland and Slovakia had indicated they were ready to hand over their planes, but only as part of a broader international coalition doing the same.

It remains unclear whether other countries would also share their military aircraft. Debate over whether to supply non-NATO Ukraine with military fighter jets began last year, but NATO allies resisted, citing concern over escalating role of the alliance in the war.

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