Slovakia Blames Russia for Sabotaging MiG-29s Destined for Ukraine

According to Slovak officials, it is believed that a group of Russian technicians intentionally sabotaged several MiG-29 fighter jets, intended for delivery to Ukraine.

Polish Mig-29

On April 7, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad made a statement regarding the country’s MiG-29 fighters that are being used to support Ukraine. According to Nad, these planes are capable of normal flight operations, but lack the necessary capabilities for combat missions. He also expressed concerns that Russian technicians may have deliberately sabotaged the planes while they were being maintained in Slovakia last year, resulting in damaged engine parts that are only accessible to Russian technicians.

To investigate these suspicions, the police have launched an investigation. Despite their efforts, no conclusive results have been obtained thus far. Minister Nad emphasized the Slovak Ministry of Defense’s lack of trust in the Russian technicians and suggested that the Ukrainian military, which possesses a strong understanding of the MiG-29 series, could potentially restore the planes to full combat readiness.

According to General Lubomir Svoboda, who holds the position of Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Army, the technical team from Russia possesses greater knowledge and expertise related to the MiG-29 fighter aircraft compared to their Slovak counterparts. As a result, the Russian team plays a significant role in ensuring the operational efficiency of the aircraft maintenance process within the injection line of this magnitude.

General Lubomir Svoboda expressed skepticism regarding the workmanship and intentions of the Russian technical team responsible for maintaining the MiG-29 fighter aircraft. Despite receiving an engine with a 350-hour reserve, it operated for only 70 hours, leading to doubts about the quality of their work.

At present, Russian officials have not commented on the report. Last year, Slovakia decided to decommission its Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter squadron due to the dependency on Russian companies and technicians for operation. As a result, neighboring countries, namely the Czech Republic and Poland, have taken over the responsibility of safeguarding Slovakia’s airspace.

In a recent development, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger approved a plan to provide 13 MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, of which 10 are operational and three are designated for parts dismantling. This move makes Slovakia the second country, after Poland, to supply fighter jets to Ukraine, with the first four MiG-29s delivered to Ukraine by Slovakia a week later.

On March 31, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia made allegations against Bratislava for allegedly failing to comply with a 2009 contract by not returning costly maintenance equipment that was provided by Moscow and for neglecting to make payment for the items deployed. The FSMTC stated that Slovakia’s possession of the equipment is illegal and that the country is unable to transfer it to Ukraine, thereby violating several international agreements, including the re-export of Russian weapons without the consent of the original sellers.

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