VARESE, Italy. March 20th, 2023. On Friday, Slovakia’s prime minister, Eduard Heger, said the East European country would join Poland in providing MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine for the war effort.
The 13 planes will join 4 from Poland to become the first NATO arms package to include warplanes since the war began.
Originally seen as a massive escalation because they would give Ukraine the ability and incentive to strike Crimea or inside Russia, they are now seen as essentially just another weapon system. All previous aid determined too risky, including long-range rocket artillery, targeting assistance from NATO countries, and main battle tanks, are now being used in the fighting.
“The equipment deliveries naturally won’t have any impact on the outcome of the special military operation, but it may bring more misfortune to Ukraine and Ukrainian people,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov when asked about the news.
“The US has been encouraging the former Soviet republics who are in NATO to ditch their older Soviet-made equipment in exchange for Western-made arms,” writes Dave DeCamp for News.Antiwar. “Slovakia signed a deal with the US in 2018 to purchase 14 F-16 fighter jets to replace their MiG-29s, and the F-16s are expected to be delivered in 2024”.
However, there are reasons to believe that this decision, which back in May of 2022 was rejected by NATO commanders because they believed Russia would potentially consider it the entry of the bloc into the war, is not simply a bit of military spring cleaning to get rid of older equipment.