On July 3, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Czech Republic will send fighter jets to patrol the airspace of neighboring Slovakia.
“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.”
“I don’t see any problem there,” he said. “The government will certainly approve it.”
Slovakia earlier asked NATO allies to patrol its skies after it decided to ground its own fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets.
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.
Bratislava intends to send the MiGs to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight off Russia’s invasion.
Slovakia ordered 14 F-16 fighters from the United States in 2018 to replace its MiGs, and the first planes were scheduled to arrive this year. However, unexpected delays have pushed back that date to 2024.
Slovakia has provided over 154 million euros ($160.6 million) in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.