Slovakia has transferred an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine in one of the most high-profile defense system contributions to the country since the start of Russia’s invasion in late February.
The transfer was confirmed by the Slovak prime minister Eduard Heger, who is currently visiting Ukraine together with the president of the European Commission Ursula von den Leyen.
“It is our duty to help, not to stay put and be ignorant to the loss of human lives under Russia’s aggression,” Heger said confirming the transfer.
According to local reports, the S-300 air defense system is already in Ukraine, after a transfer operation that took two days to complete.
S-300 is already in service with the Ukrainian armed forces, which means the country will not have to undergo extensive training to operate the system.
Slovakia’s transfer of the system is part of a wider push to provide Ukraine with as many systems of Soviet origin as possible. It should also be noted that this is the first instance of such a transfer. A plan from March to hand over Polish MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine fell through.
Slovakia first agreed to provide the S-300 to Ukraine in mid-March, with Slovakia’s defense minister Jaroslav Nad saying the transfer would depend on a deal that would see the country receive a “proper replacement” from the West. The Pentagon has been working on this proposal, but it is unclear whether a definitive agreement on a similar system that would be supplied to Slovakia has been reached.
Slovakia had been operating a single S-300 battery since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993.