Country becomes second Nato member after Poland to make such a pledge.
Slovakia will donate 13 MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine, its prime minister has said, making it the second Nato member to announce such a shipment in 24 hours, after a similar move by Poland.
It remains to be seen how much the jets will help Ukraine stop Russia’s assaults and break its defensive lines in the counteroffensive expected this spring. Ukraine has asked for modern Typhoons and F-16s; the MiGs it is getting are 30 years old.
Slovakia’s prime minister, Eduard Heger, told a news conference on Friday that his government was “on the right side of history” as he announced it would hand over its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiGs.
Western countries have been reluctant to give Ukraine such equipment, which is capable of reaching inside Russia, saying it would take years to train Ukrainian pilots and set up supply chains for maintaining the jets. But the UK has offered to provide air cover for any eastern European allies willing to send jets to Ukraine.
In Moscow, the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, presented awards to the pilots of two Su-27 fighter planes who were involved in this week’s confrontation with a US drone over the Black Sea.