The first four of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets that Slovakia decided to give Ukraine have been transferred to the Ukrainian air force.
The warplanes were flown from Slovakia to Ukraine on Thursday by Ukrainian pilots with help from the Slovak Air Force.
“I thank [all] involved for a fantastic professional job,” Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said.
The ministry said the remaining MiG-29s will be handed over to the Ukrainian side in the coming weeks. It said it will not provide any additional details until they are safely in Ukraine.
The Slovak government approved a plan to give Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets last Friday, becoming the second NATO member to heed the Ukrainian government’s pleas for fighter aircraft to help defend against Russia’s invasion.
Slovakia previously signed a deal to buy 14 US F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets, but delivery was pushed back two years with the first aircraft to arrive in early 2024.
The defence ministry said on Wednesday the United States offered Slovakia 12 new military helicopters as compensation for the fighter jets the European country is giving Ukraine.
Under the offer, Slovakia would pay $340m for the Bell AH-1Z attack choppers in a deal worth about $1 billion. US foreign military financing would cover the other $660m.
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