PRAGUE (AP) — Slovakia’s government on Friday approved a plan to give Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, becoming the second NATO member country to heed the Ukrainian government’s pleas for warplanes.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger said during a news conference announcing the decision that his government was “on the right side of history.”
Poland announced Thursday that it would give Ukraine around a dozen MiG-29s, starting with four expected to be delivered in the coming days. Both Poland and Slovakia had indicated previously they were ready to grant Ukraine’s requests for military aircraft, but only as part of a wider international coalition.
Heger said his government’s move “is closely coordinated with the Polish side, Ukraine and other allies.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the promised planes were another example of NATO members “raising the level of their direct involvement in the conflict.”
Slovakia will receive 200 million euros ($213 million) from the European Union as compensation and unspecified arms from the United States worth 700 million euros ($745 million) in exchange for giving its MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said.
In response to Poland’s announcement on Thursday, the White House said Warsaw’s move would have no bearing on President Joe Biden, who has resisted calls to provide U.S. F-16s to Ukraine, and that it was up to other nations to explain their own positions.