Poland offers to safeguard Slovak airspace to allow transfer of MiG-29 jets to Ukraine

Poland safeguard Slovak airspace
Polish Air Force F-16 combat aircraft.

In the midst of the long war between Russia and Ukraine, Poland recently announced that it is ready to defend Slovak airspace should Slovakia transfer its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. Slovakia said in early April that it would be ready to hand over its fighter jets to Ukraine should an ally take over the defense of its airspace.

"I got a confirmation that Poland is ready to take care of Slovakia's air space from the moment Slovakia decides to ground the MiG-29 jets," Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said at a joint press conference along with his Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak, according to Sky News.

According to Nad, legislative measures must be in place for such a move and Slovakia is working on this. Meanwhile, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his country could draw on his experience in Baltic states' airspace defense activities. 

"These duties will be carried out from the territory of Poland... As a rule, we will expand the scope of operation of the Polish duty group that uses F-16 aircraft," Blaszczak remarked. However, both leaders did not specify when Poland's operation in Slovak airspace would begin.

Poland safeguard Slovak airspace

Slovakia had already planned to replace its old Soviet-made MiG-29 fleet with US-made F-16 jets. In 2018, Bratislava and Washington signed a historic $1.6 billion defense deal involving the supply of 14 F-16 Block 70s for the Slovak Air Force, with delivery of the first batch expected by 2024.

Poland had previously also said it would be ready to transfer its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine as long as an ally gives it back more modern aircraft.

Written by Darren Bondi

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