Czech Republic, Poland Agree To Protect Slovak Airspace Until Delivery Of U.S.-Supplied F-16s
August 27, 2022
The Czech Republic and Poland signed an agreement to protect the airspace of neighbor and fellow NATO member Slovakia as Bratislava ceases use of its old Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets at the end of this month.
The protection agreement signed on August 27 is scheduled to run until Slovakia receives an order of new F-16s from the United States, expected sometime in 2024.
Defense Ministers Mariusz Blaszczak of Poland, Jana Cernochova of the Czech Republic, and Jaroslav Nad of Slovakia signed the agreement at a Slovak air base.
"Polish fighters will preferably be taking off from a base located on Polish territory. Czech fighters will also provide airspace protection tasks from a base located on the territory of the Czech Republic and will return to their home bases once the task is completed," the spokeswoman for the Slovak Defense Ministry said.
Nad last month said Slovakia may consider offering its current fleet of 11 MiG-29s to Ukraine in a possible swap of some kind as Kyiv battles against Russia's invasion.
The 11 MiG-29s are worth an estimated $300 million.
Since Russia's February 24 invasion, Ukraine -- which is not a member of NATO -- has called on Western allies to provide it with warplanes in the face of Russian air superiority in the war.
Based on reporting by AP and Euractiv
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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