Slovakia has delivered the first four Slovak Air Force MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, Slovak defense minister Jaro Nad confirmed on March 23.
“May they save many lives and help Ukraine defend its land and infrastructure against Putin’s aggression! Our support will continue as long as needed,” the defense minister said.
According to video footage released by the country’s armed forces, Slovakia flew the fighters directly to Ukraine, instead of boxing the aircraft up and transporting them.
Ukrainian pilots flew the pilots home with the help of the Slovak Air Force, the Slovak defense ministry said.
In total, Slovakia is donating 13 Soviet-made fighter jets to Ukraine, but further details were not revealed. The defense ministry said the remaining jets would be transferred “in the coming weeks.”
Ukrainian pilots are familiar with the MiG-29, as the fighter is already in service with the Ukrainian Air Force. Since the start of the Russian invasion in February last year, Ukraine has found a way to integrate US-supplied AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles onto the fighters.
The transfer of MiG-29s is the latest in a series of measures Slovakia has undertaken to aid Ukraine’s defense. The country previously donated Zuzana 2 self-propelled howitzers and is working with Denmark, Germany and Norway on delivering more systems to Ukraine.
Defense minister Nad recently revealed that Slovakia would be able to buy 12 US-built AH-1Z attack with a significant discount in exchange for the transfer of Soviet-origin fighter jets to Ukraine. According to a report, Slovakia expects to pay 340 million dollars for the helicopters and Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles for a package that would normally cost over a billion dollars.