Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced on Monday that he has decided to hand over his entire fleet of Soviet Mig 29 fighter-bombers to Ukraine to support the Ukrainian war effort. The decision has been made in coordination with its neighboring Czech Republic, which will be in charge of patrolling its airspace until this country receives the 12 American-made F-16s that are expected to be delivered in the coming months and that were to replace the aircraft now donated.
Slovakia has a dozen SD version MiG-29 aircraft, which in 2005 were upgraded with technologies compatible with NATO systems that included improvements in communication and navigation systems, as well as a new cockpit canopy with ability to use LCD multifunction displays.
Heger has hinted that he could also donate to Ukraine some thirty T-72 battle tanks also of Soviet origin, apparently as soon as NATO armored forces have been deployed in the country to guarantee the protection of this country.
The idea of donating fighter-bombers to Ukraine had already been mooted early in the war with a first offer from Poland proposing that they fly from a US air base in Germany, which Washington felt raised "serious concerns." about possible Russian retaliation. Moscow has warned that such a decision would be a hostile act equivalent to "participating in war".
Ukraine once had about 80 Mig 29s but lost almost half of them to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, captured at its base.