The Slovak government announced on March 17 that it will send MIG-29 combat aircraft to Ukraine, a request that the president of the attacked country, Volodimir Zelensky, has made for months to defend his nation from the Russian war. Slovakia becomes the second NATO nation, after Poland, to join the delivery of this type of aircraft amid the reluctance of several Western allies. Moscow responded that it would destroy all aircraft supplied to kyiv.
The fury of the Kremlin rises. Slovakia reported this Friday, March 17, that it will provide Ukraine with a fleet of 13 Soviet-era MIG-29 fighter jets.
The member country of the Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) thus responds to a plea that for months the president of the invaded country, Volodímir Zelenski, has made to the West, considering it urgent to defend his nation after more than a year of the invasion Russian.
Bratislava becomes the second government to promise to send military aircraft to kyiv, after Poland announced the same on Thursday, March 16.
In a press conference, the Slovak Prime Minister, Eduard Heger, assured that his Administration will also supply part of its KUB air defense system and that the measure puts his country “on the right side of history”.
“Today, the Government unanimously decided and approved an international agreement (on the donation)” (…) The delivery process of these combat aircraft is closely coordinated with the Polish side, with Ukraine and, of course, with other allies” , maintained the premier.
Slovakia became the second of Ukraine’s allies to provide MIG-29 fighter jets which Kyiv believes are crucial to repel Russia’s year-long invasion https://t.co/JggCgKHehG
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 17, 2023
For his part, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad assured that Slovakia would receive 200 million euros from the European Union (EU) as compensation and unspecified weapons from the United States worth 700 million euros.
Before the transfer of these devices to Kiev, the neighboring countries and also members of NATO, Poland and the Czech Republic, agree to monitor the Slovak airspace and Hungary will join these efforts at the end of this year, the authorities said.
These announcements come after months of reluctance from most Western allies who, while they have provided other types of large military aid to the Ukrainian army, refrain from sending aircraft amid fears of increasing Russia’s fury and unleashing a greater conflict.
Among them the United States. Last February, President Joe Biden announced $500 million in additional aid to kyiv, but reiterated that he would not deliver fighter jets, indicating that Ukraine does not yet need such defense.
On Thursday, after the Warsaw announcement, the German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was surprised and confirmed that “so far, everyone agrees that this is not the time to send combat planes.”
But NATO allies in the east of the Old Continent, such as Poland and Slovakia, are raising aid by saying that defending Ukraine from Moscow’s troops is protecting Europe.
Kiev urges the dispatch of fighter jets and more weapons in a desperate attempt to stop Russian troops from seizing more Ukrainian territory, causing deaths and human rights violations.
“All this equipment will be destroyed”: Russia threatens to shoot down fighter jets
As expected, the new military assistance for the attacked nation increased the fury of the Government of Vladimir Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that all fighter jets supplied to Ukraine by Western nations would be destroyed.
“In the course of the special military operation, all this equipment will be destroyed (…) It seems that all these countries are involved in the disposal of old and unnecessary equipment,” Peskov said.
Although the West does not intervene in the field of the conflict, Moscow accuses the United States and Europe of participating “directly” by supplying weapons to Ukraine.
On multiple occasions, the Russian government has warned that NATO weapons are “legitimate targets” for its forces.
Moscow honors pilots who intercepted US drone
On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu handed out decorations to the pilots who prevented a US drone from entering the area of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the state news agency RIA reported.
This is one of the highest tension chapters between Moscow and Washington in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
According to the US version, on March 14 a Russian fighter Su-27 intercepted an MQ-9 unmanned aircraft of the USA, dumped fuel near the aircraft and damaged the propeller.
The action forced Washington forces in Europe to shoot down the aircraft over international waters.
BREAKING: The aerial footage of the Russian fighter jet and a US drone colliding has just been released by the United States Military.
– Communications were lost for a couple of seconds with the drone just as the image gets pixelated.
– When the video feed summarized it’s clear… https://t.co/NJqOZPBvWS pic.twitter.com/NDYgtZqfvW
—Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) March 16, 2023
Despite a video released by the Pentagon on Thursday, March 16, showing these maneuvers, Moscow insists on denying that its combat planes had direct contact with the drone.
The events occurred on the Black Sea which, among others, surrounds the Crimean peninsula, in southern Ukraine, and which Moscow irregularly annexed in 2014, an area that Kiev promises to recover.
With Reuters and AP