BRATISLAVA: Slovakia on Wednesday said it had received a US offer of $1 billion in helicopters and missiles at a discounted rate in compensation for promising to send MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine.
“We were the first to receive this extremely advantageous offer. If we don’t take them, they will go to another country,“ Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Facebook.
“The value of this material is slightly over $1 billion... Slovakia would pay around $340 million over a period of three to four years,“ he added.
The offer includes 12 new Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters with accessories, pilot and technician training, along with more than 500 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, he said.
He noted that the offer was notably in compensation for the fighter jets that Bratislava had recently promised Ukraine.
“So let’s summarise: for 13 old MiGs and a part of the KUB air defence system, we have an offer” from the United States, he said.
Slovakia announced on Friday that it would donate the MiG warplanes to Ukraine, the second NATO member -- following Poland -- to pledge the aircraft.
The batch will include 10 operational MiG-29 fighter jets and an additional three to be used as spare parts. The KUB air defence system is also Soviet-era weaponry.
Slovakia plans to replace the jets with American F-16s, and the changeover should take place no later than January 2024.
Nad said Wednesday that the US deal was also intended to make up for the delay in delivering the F-16s.
“Thanks to our responsible defence policy, relations with the US and also our clear support of Ukraine, we were the first to receive this offer,“ Nad said.
“It should also be seen in the context of indirect compensation for the delayed F-16 fighters, where we have long demanded some form of compensation.” - AFP