The Soviet-era combat aircraft were safely handed over to Ukraine’s air force on Thursday, Poland’s portalmilitarny.pl website reported.
Officials in Bratislava said the four MIG-29s were flown from Slovakia to Ukraine by Ukrainian pilots with help from the Slovak air force, Ukrainian personnel and others, according to the AP news agency.
Slovakia’s Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said: “I thank all involved for a fantastic professional job.”
On March 17, the Slovak government approved a plan to supply its fleet of 13 MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, thus becoming the second of Kyiv’s allies, after Poland, to pledge to send the Soviet-designed warplanes to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian assault, according to news outlets.
A day earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters that his country would provide Ukraine with four MIG-29 fighter jets "in the coming days."
The Slovak defence ministry said on Thursday that the remaining MIG-29s would be transferred to Ukraine side in the coming weeks, according to portalmilitarny.pl.
Officials declined to give any further details “until they’re safely in Ukraine,” the AP reported.
Slovakia grounded its MiGs last summer due to a lack of spare parts and expertise to help maintain them, according to the AP.
Fellow NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic chimed in to protect Slovakia’s airspace until the country receives new fighter jets in 2024, news outlets reported at the time.
Friday is day 394 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: portalmilitarny.pl, Associated Press, dw.com