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Delivery of jets to Kiev was ‘illegal’ – NATO member

The Slovak government had no right to send the MiG-29 planes to Ukraine in 2023, a senior defense official said

The previous government in Bratislava had no right to donate the Soviet-era MiG-29 warplanes to Kiev, State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Defense Igor Melicher has said. 

In March 2023, the interim government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger authorized the delivery of 13 MiG-29s, according to the Slovak national broadcaster TASR. The new government led by Robert Fico has since requested a legal review of the shipment. 

“The MiG-29 fighter jets were delivered to Ukraine illegally,” Melicher wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. He added that the Defense Ministry is “preparing a legal action.” 

Melicher made his statement after ombudsman Robert Dobrovodsky, who was tasked with reviewing the delivery of the aircraft, revealed that the government has failed to find the required legal analysis of the possibility of donating the MiG-29s to Kiev.

“The ministry recently told me that it was trying to comply with the request and find the analysis. However, it said that neither it nor any of its branches had the analysis at their disposal,” Dobrovodsky told TASR on Tuesday. “It also stated that the analysis isn’t even registered in its databases in any form.” 

Melicher has argued that Heger’s caretaker government had no right to make final decisions on delivering the planes abroad. “The Constitution forbids an interim government to take major steps in foreign policy, and sending fighter jets worth more than €500 million ($537 million) is certainly such a step,” he wrote.

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West wants escalation with Moscow – Slovak PM

Prime Minister Robert Fico, who survived an assassination attempt by a pro-Ukrainian activist last month, has opposed sending arms to Kiev and insisted that the conflict should be resolved through diplomacy.

Defense Minister Robert Kalinak has also criticized his predecessor, saying in May that the previous government had acted “in the most irresponsible way when it handed over [the weapons] that we needed for our own safety.” 

Kiev has been pressing its Western backers to expedite the planned delivery of US-made F-16 fighters. Politico magazine reported this month that Ukrainian officials were “frustrated” with how the existing training programs in the US and other countries had not been producing enough pilots for the F-16s. 

Russia, for its part, has warned that no amount of Western military aid would deter its military operation in the neighboring state.

 

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