Following on from Poland, Slovakia announced its intention to transfer Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukrainian forces. A decision which according to Moscow will not change the outcome of the conflict, but could contribute to making it continue.
After Warsaw, it is Bratislava’s turn to announce the supply of Mig-29 fighters to kyiv.
“We will hand over 13 of our MiG-29s to Ukraine,” declared Eduard Heger, the acting Slovak Prime Minister, to the press on March 17. These thirteen aircraft correspond to the entire fleet of Mig-29s available to the Slovak Republic. Retired from service in August 2022, these Soviet-designed interceptors are to be replaced by early 2024 by US aircraft. This transfer is a process “fully coordinated with Poland and Ukraine” specified Eduard Heger.
“We have the impression that these countries are only recycling old equipment in this way which they no longer want,” reacted Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for the Russian presidency, who estimated that “all this equipment will be destroyed” in during the Russian campaign in Ukraine. “The supply of this military equipment, as we have already said on several occasions, cannot change the outcome of the special military operation”, he reiterated, before adding “but it could lead to new misfortunes for Ukraine itself and its people.”
Washington’s position for the time being unchanged
The day before this Slovak donation pledge, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that his country would deliver to the Ukrainian regime “in the coming days” a “first batch” of four Mig-29s. Such delivery – official – of fourth-generation combat aircraft would be a first since the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022.
“This is another example of how certain member states of the North Atlantic Organization, in particular Poland, are becoming more and more directly involved in the conflict,” said Dmitri Peskov for his part. .
Warsaw, in the forefront of kyiv’s military supporters, prides itself on having constituted a “coalitionto provide Mig-29s to Ukrainian forces. From the first days of the conflict, the Polish authorities said they were ready to make available to the United States all of their Mig-29s to be delivered to the Ukrainian forces. An intermediary role which Washington has so far refused.
Asked about Poland’s decision to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine, John Kirby, a White House spokesman, told reporters it was a “sovereign decision” and “it doesn’t change nothing” to the line of Joe Biden. For the time being, the American president has not yielded to kyiv’s requests to provide him with F-16 fighter-bombers.