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Slovak defense minister says sending fighter jets to Ukraine was 'treason,' files criminal complaint

by Chris York June 12, 2024 7:43 PM 2 min read
Slovak Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak addresses a press conference in Bratislava, Slovakia on May 19, 2024 (Vladimir Simicek/AFP via Getty Images)
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Slovakia's defense minister has accused his predecessor of "treason" for sending fighter jets to Ukraine, and announced on June 12 he had filed a criminal complaint regarding the matter.

"Weakening the armed forces in this way, contrary to the constitution, cannot be described in our political dictionary as anything other than treason," Robert Kalinak said in comments reported by the Czech news outlet iROZHLAS.

"I don't know if it legally constitutes a crime, but he is a person who betrayed national values."

Kalinak was taking aim at his predecessor, Jaroslav Nad, who while serving as defense minister from March 2020 and May 2023, sent Ukraine several MiG-29 fighter jets to help the country fend off Russia's full-scale invasion.

At the time, Nad said the Soviet-era fighter jets were "unusable" for his country and therefore it was "the right thing" to provide them to Ukraine.

When Kalinak took office in October 2023 as part of Prime Minister Robert Fico's new government, Slovakia said it would no longer send arms to Ukraine from its own military stocks, though it does still allow commercial arms sales.

Nad responded to Kalinak's accusation on June 12, saying that all legal considerations had been taken into account before the signing of the deal to hand over the fighter jets.

"Based on that, the government made a decision as a collective body and approved the signing of an international agreement, which it had the right to do," he said.

He added that another similar criminal report regarding the MiG-29 transfer had been "swept off the table."

While the Slovak government has made its disdain for support for Ukraine clear, some of the country's people took matters into their own hands and launched a fundraising drive to purchase artillery shells for Kyiv.

Slovak citizens started their campaign "Ammunition for Ukraine" on April 16 to raise additional funds for the Czech-led initiative to procure shells around the world after the Slovak government refused to participate.

Within less than a month, over 65,000 people donated 4 million euros ($4.3 million), with one donor giving a single donation of 100,000 euros ($107,000).

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