At the Leoš Janáček Ostrava Airport in Mošnov in Novojičín on September 20, 2020, NATO Days and Days of the Air Force of the Army of the Czech Republic, which are the largest security parade in Europe, continue. Due to the coronavirus, they are held without spectators. Flyover of MiG-29 aircraft of the Slovak army.
Bratislava – Former Prime Minister Roberta Fico of the strongest opposition Slovak party Direction-Social Democracy (Direction-SD) today criticized the possible handover of Slovak MiG-29 fighter jets, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially requested from Prime Minister Eduard Heger on Thursday. Fico announced that the opposition will try to pass a resolution in the lower house next week, by which the parliament will reject the handover of the MiGs. In response, Heger criticized Fico and said that the former three-time prime minister is turning his back on the killing of innocent people in Ukraine. The Slovak Ministry of Defense has confirmed that it is negotiating further military aid to Ukraine; according to Defense Minister Jaroslav Nada, the country could receive financial or non-financial compensation for the fighters.
Smér-SD has long opposed the supply of weapons to Ukraine and criticizes the anti-Russian sanctions that the EU and Western countries have introduced in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Fico refers to the conflict in Ukraine as a war between the United States and Russia. Fico's party is the second most popular party in the country according to polls. There will be early elections in Slovakia at the end of September.
“Further arming of Ukraine will bring nothing but hundreds of thousands of dead. We propose that the National Council express its opposition to any form of delivery of MiG-29 combat aircraft to Ukraine,” Fico said. He called Slovak government politicians American stooges and President Zuzana Čaputová an American maid. He also said that he did not understand the statements of the elected Czech president, Petr Pavel, that Ukraine should become a member of NATO.
According to Fico, sending weapons to a war conflict with which Slovakia has nothing to do is a fundamental issue of the country's foreign policy, in which Heger's government lost its powers according to the constitution after its fall in December. Fica rejected this statement. The outgoing cabinet lost its majority in the lower house last year after a crisis in the coalition.
Zelenskyj asked Heger for supplies of MiG-29 fighter jets at a meeting on Thursday in Brussels. The Slovak Prime Minister stated that he would try to comply with the request. After returning from Brussels, Heger criticized Fico for sending Ukrainians only humanitarian and not military aid.
“It's a shame that a three-time prime minister is responding by wanting to send blankets and hot tea to them as they die under rocket fire. It's complete cynicism. He's turning his back completely on murdering and killing innocent people. His policies can put us in international isolation, Heger responded to Fico's statements. He added that Slovakia does not have spare parts for grounded migas, but the machines can save lives in Ukraine.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Slovakia decided to prematurely end the operation of its dozens of MiGs from the Soviet era. Last summer, it signed a declaration with the Czech Republic and Poland, based on which both of these countries help ensure the protection of Slovakia's airspace, which has not yet received an order for new American F-16 fighter jets.
At the press conference with Heger, he added , that Ukraine has the capacity to repair MiG-29 machines from Slovakia. He hinted that Bratislava could also send Soviet-era Kub air defense systems to Ukraine; on Thursday, the Ministry of Defense announced that Slovakia will receive two Mantis air defense systems as a gift from Germany.
The Slovak Ministry of Defense announced today that it continues to negotiate with allies and Ukraine for further assistance to this country. According to him, the main requirements now include aviation systems, air defense equipment and heavy ground equipment. Slovakia has already helped its eastern neighbor militarily as well. For example, it handed over to Ukraine the S-300 air defense system, infantry fighting vehicles, demining equipment and helicopters, as well as self-propelled howitzers of its own production as part of a commercial contract.