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[In short] Poland and Slovakia equip Ukrainian forces with Mig-29s

(B2) The Allies have taken the plunge. They will deliver fighter planes to enable Ukraine to reconstitute its air force, which was partly destroyed at the start of the war. This very quickly.

A Mig 29 in Slovak colors (Photo: MOD Slovakia / B2 Archive)

13 Slovak Mig 29 fighters

Bratislava will deliver thirteen Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, Prime Minister Eduard Heger declared on Friday (March 17). An approach “fully coordinated with Poland and Ukraine” he added. Bratislava will also deliver two Koub-type anti-aircraft defense systems to kyiv.

In a few weeks

Transporting the planes “will take a few weeks,” Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said. “At least three aircraft will be used to supply spare parts,” added the Chief of Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, General Daniel Zmeko. These fighters were last modernized in 1996 and are currently no longer used in Slovak hunting.

Also four Polish Mig 29s

Poland announced on Thursday (March 16) that it would deliver a first batch of four MiG-29 fighter-bombers to Ukraine. “In the coming days, we will first transfer (…) four fully operational aircraft to Ukraine,” Polish President Andrzej Duda declared to the press. Other devices are expected to follow. 'They are currently being reconditioned and will probably be transferred successively,' he said.

A request from Kyiv

This responds to a recurring request from Ukraine which suffered significant losses in its aviation, notably in the first days of the Russian offensive in February 2022. kyiv has repeatedly asked NATO allies to send it planes. Particularly F-16s.

No delivery of F-16 planned

On the American side, there is no delivery planned. “It's not on the table,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters, recalling that President Joe Biden had publicly opposed the delivery of combat planes to the Ukraine. But this delivery appears to have been completely concerted and to have received the green light from the White House.

US and European compensation

Bratislava has thus announced that it will receive American “compensation” for the delivery of specific military equipment to Ukraine, worth around $700 million which “is added to the compensation under the European Peace Facility ". In total, the compensation thus reached “around €900 million”.

Other suppliers by 2024 or 2025 ?

France has not ruled out the delivery of Mirage-type fighter planes. The decision to move to “All Rafale” in an accelerated manner thus frees up a certain number of operational aircraft. The United Kingdom has started training Ukrainian pilots. Finland, through its Prime Minister Sanna Marin visiting Kiev last week, indicated that it was necessary to “think” about the delivery of Finnish F-18 Hornet aircraft. These are to begin being retired from service in the 2025s, to be replaced by F-35s.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde with AFP)

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