Ukraine Receives ‘Defective’ MiG-29 Fighters; Slovakia Says Russian Engineers ‘Sabotaged’ Them

The Slovakian Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad’ said in response to criticism leveled at the government by the opposition for giving up valuable aircraft to Ukraine, “They can fly, not fight!” as Ukraine received ‘defective’ MiG-29 fighters as they were sabotaged.

Slovakia appears to have sent to Ukraine faulty MiG-29 jets that may be unfit for combat, according to recent remarks made by the country’s defense minister, who alleged that Russian technicians seem to have sabotaged the combat aircraft delivered to Ukraine.

“They were able to fly, but that doesn’t mean they were also capable of combat. The Ukrainians came to Slovakia a week before their departure, brought spare parts, and inspected the planes,” the Slovakian Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad’ said in response to criticism leveled at the government by the opposition for giving up valuable aircraft.

Nad’ suggested that the faults in the MiG-29 Fulcrum jets may have been deliberately caused by Russian technicians, who were present at Sliač air base in Slovakia until late 2022.

He noted that the defects were observed only in those parts to which the Russian technicians had access.

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“Even the police were investigating it, based on our suspicions. There were parts in the engines of the aircraft that Slovak technicians accessed, and then there were parts that Russian technicians only accessed. The defects appeared only in those parts accessed by Russians,” Naď said.

However, the police investigation could not definitely prove intent on the part of the Russian technicians.

Nevertheless, the Slovakian defense ministry felt a loss of confidence in the Russian technicians at Sliač because the defects appeared only in parts the Russians worked on, the defense minister said.

Lieutenant General Ľubomír Svoboda, the former highest-ranking pilot in the Slovak Air Force, also suggested that Russians intentionally damaged the jets.

“We took over an engine from them that was supposed to last 350 hours. And in the end, it only flew 70 hours. What can we make of that? Maybe there was poor workmanship, let’s call it that. I don’t know,” he said in an interview for Denník N.

Last month, Ukraine’s neighboring countries, Poland and Slovakia, pledged a first tranche of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Of these, Poland will send four Soviet-made aircraft, while Slovakia will send 13.

Ukraine almost succeeded in its plan to ‘steal’ a Su-34 fighter from Russia, and a pilot was offered $1M to defect with his jet.

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