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Ukraine conflict: Slovakia transfers first MiG-29s to Ukraine

A screenshot from a Slovak Air Force video released on 23 March, showing the first four MiG-29s being prepped ahead of their transfer to Ukraine. (Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic)

Slovakia has transferred the first of its MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' combat aircraft to Ukraine, with the aircraft being flown from Sliač Air Base to an undisclosed location in the neighbouring country.

Slovakian Minister of Defence Jaroslav Naď announced the transfer on 23 March, saying the first four aircraft had been handed over.

“May they save many lives and help Ukraine defend its land and infrastructure against Putin's aggression! Our support will continue as long as needed,” he tweeted from his official account.

At the same time as the defence minister was making his announcement, the Slovak Air Force posted a video online showing the aircraft being readied for their transfer, and departing their homebase for Ukraine. While some identification markings were pixelated, the footage showed four single-seat aircraft, one of which was tail number 6124.

It was unclear from the announcement or the footage if the pilots were Slovakian or Ukrainian, although Slovakian media cited unnamed sources as saying the pilots were Ukrainian.

The transfer of the first MiG-29s came six days after Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on 17 March that 13 MiG-29s that are no longer used operationally by the Slovak Air Force were to be gifted to Ukraine. Janes World Air Forces (JWAF) lists nine single-seat and two twin-seat MiG-29s in the Slovakia inventory, meaning that the ‘13' figure stated by Heger will include stored aircraft to be used for spares.

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