Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Kačer said his country remained ready to send its long-promised MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, and preparations are to begin in the “coming weeks.”
In an interview published by Interfax Ukraine on Dec. 12, Kačer said that the Soviet-made jets have not been delivered to Ukraine yet, but Slovakia is “talking with NATO partners about how to do it.”
“I am very optimistic about this I think this will happen soon, and the planes will be in Ukraine,” Kačer said, as quoted by Interfax.
Kačer added that a Ukrainian delegation is set to come for a U.S.-involved meeting in “coming weeks” to “make this a reality.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky was informed “in sufficient detail” last week, but disclosing more about the potential transfer of jets could “jeopardize” the process, according to Kačer.
Valued at $299 million by Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad, MiG-29 jets have been long wanted by Ukraine to bolster its air force amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
As part of its military assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, Slovakia signed an airspace protection deal in August with the Czech Republic and Poland that could potentially pave the way for it to send its fleet of 11 MiG-29 jets to Ukraine – but the potential transfer of jets is yet to be approved by NATO.
The U.S. rejected Poland’s March offer to send similar Soviet-era jets to Ukraine over fears of being drawn into the conflict.