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    Alliance in the Sky: Slovakia’s Strategic MiG-29 Transfer to Ukraine and the Shifting Tides of NATO Support

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    2023 The Slovak Defense Ministry orchestrated what was described as a “complicated logistics operation,” opting for overland transportation to ensure security.

    The gesture of solidarity not only enhances Ukraine’s capability to defend its airspace but also signals a shift in the dynamics of NATO’s support amidst ongoing conflict.

    Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď, emphasized the moral imperative of this action, stating, “We are doing the right thing.”

    This donation was part of a carefully coordinated effort with Poland, Ukraine, and other allies.

    On March 17, the Slovak government approved a plan to give Ukraine its entire fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 planes, becoming the second NATO member to answer Ukraine’s plea for warplanes to help defend against Russia’s invasion.

    The nation’s MiG fleet was grounded in the summer due to shortages in spare parts and maintenance expertise.

    Neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic, both NATO members, intervened to monitor Slovak airspace.

    Slovakia awaits the delivery of 14 U.S. F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets with the first aircraft expected to arrive in early 2024.

    The United States has offered Slovakia 12 new military helicopters as compensation for the fighter jets provided to Ukraine.

    Under the offer, Slovakia would pay $340 million for the Bell AH-1Z attack choppers in a deal worth about $1 billion.

    U.S. foreign military financing would cover the other $660 million.

    The Polish president announced that his country’s air force will substitute the gifted Soviet-made fighters with a portion of the 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft that Poland’s Ministry of National Defence purchased from South Korea in September 2022.

    While these developments are significant, they also raise concerns about further escalation.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded the jet donations as an increase in NATO’s direct involvement in the conflict.

    The provision of the MiG-29 jets to Ukraine bolsters its aerial defenses.

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