Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has announced the deployment of the country’s air force to patrol Slovakia’s air space.
Fiala made the statement during a televised debate with his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger.
“The Czech Air Force will temporarily protect the skies over Slovakia from September. It is a beautiful example of trust and cooperation. We’ll be happy to do that. We are prepared technically and in terms of capacity,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We cannot allow Slovakia, as a country on the border of a war conflict, to be endangered in any way.”
České letectvo bude od září dočasně chránit nebe nad Slovenskem. Je to krásný příklad důvěry a spolupráce. Rádi to uděláme. Jsme připraveni technicky i kapacitně.
Nemůžeme dopustit, aby bylo Slovensko jako země na hranici válečného konfliktu jakkoliv ohrožené. pic.twitter.com/E4gwMA0ru0
— Petr Fiala (@P_Fiala) July 3, 2022
Prague is expected to deploy JAS 39 Gripens in its patrol duties over Slovak airspace, The Drive reported.
The deployment could be for up to one year, the outlet wrote, adding that the agreement is still being negotiated.
Slovak MiG 29s for Ukraine
The agreement would allow Slovakia to send a fleet of MiG 29 fighters to Ukraine, European Pravda wrote, adding that the arms delivery would also include Soviet-made tanks.
Slovakia has a fleet of 11 MiG-29s — a mix of AS single-seaters and UBS two-seaters. The country signed a deal in 2018 to buy 14 F-16 Block 70 aircraft from the US. The aircraft are expected to begin arriving in 2024.
Slovakia had earlier offered to deliver MiG-29s to Ukraine if NATO agreed to protect its air space. A similar offer by Poland was turned down by the US, which feared it might escalate the conflict.