Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 taking off for a training mission
It comes after multiple pleas from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Western countries to send Ukraine fighter jets (Picture: Stocktrek Images, Inc/ Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Slovakia joins Poland in sending MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in Nato first

Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 taking off for a training mission
It comes after multiple pleas from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Western countries to send Ukraine fighter jets (Picture: Stocktrek Images, Inc/ Alamy Stock Photo).

Slovakia will become the second Nato country to send fighter jets to Ukraine, following Poland, which announced on Friday it would be giving four MiG-29s to Kyiv.

Poland's president said the MiG-29s would be sent to the country in the next few days, with more to follow in the future.

That announcement was closely followed by Slovakia announcing it would also be sending Ukraine jets.

Slovakia's prime minister said the country would donate 13 of the warplanes, with the country's defence minister stating it would take a "couple of weeks" to deliver the aircraft.

The jets sent to Ukraine by Slovakia will be replaced with American F-16s – which should take place no later than January 2024.

Although the jets are not expected to be a game-changer for Ukraine in its war with Russia, Ukraine's deputy speaker of parliament said she hoped more countries would follow their neighbours' lead.

Watch: Ukraine defence minister's unusual appeal for fast jets.

It comes after multiple pleas from Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky for Western countries to send fighter jets.

This even saw Ukraine's defence minister make an unusual appeal for fast jets as he arrived in Brussels for a meeting with Nato ministers.

Arriving in Belgium, Oleksii Reznikov stepped in front of reporters dressed in a suit before pulling a handkerchief out of his front pocket.

In July 2022, Poland said it was prepared to hand over MiG-29 jets to Nato that could then be delivered to Ukraine.

However, US intelligence concluded at the time it could be considered escalatory and trigger a "significant" Russian reaction.

Other Nato countries are considering sending non-Nato aircraft to Ukraine, as well as training their pilots on the aircraft.

What is the MiG-29?

First operational in 1985, the MiG-29 is a single-seat, twin-engine air-to-air fighter, but would likely be defeated in a dogfight by more sophisticated Russian aircraft, such as the fifth-generation SU-57.

Codenamed Fulcrum by Nato, it is more than 17m long and can hit Mach 2.25, or 2,290 km/h (1,422mph).

As a fourth-generation jet, entering service with the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, it was designed to be able to compete with the US F-16 and F-15 fighters of the same era.

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