NewsSlovak defense minister calls MiG-29 transfer to Ukraine 'treason'

Slovak defense minister calls MiG‑29 transfer to Ukraine 'treason'

Robert Kaliňák
Robert Kaliňák
Images source: © East News | Petr David Josek

3:08 PM EDT, June 12, 2024

Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák called the previous cabinet's transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine "treason." He announced that legal steps would be taken.

Slovakia's Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák announced he would file a criminal complaint regarding transferring MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. According to him, former department head Jaroslav Naď weakened the army with this move.

- To weaken the armed forces in this way in violation of the Constitution can't be described differently in our political vocabulary than as treason - said Kaliňák.

Disputes over the transfer of fighters

In March 2023, the interim government of Eduard Heger decided to supply Ukraine with 13 MiG-29 fighter jets and parts of the Kub air defense system.

Kaliňák believes that since a vote of no confidence was announced against the government in December 2022, Minister Naď did not have full authority to take such a step in March 2023. At that time, there was a debate on whether this matter could be decided solely by the government or whether the decision had to be approved by parliament. Naď then referred to a legal analysis indicating that it was a military agreement and that government approval was sufficient to transfer the fighters.

However, the new government counters that it was an international treaty and, in such a case, parliament should decide. The then-cabinet had no majority, so the decision might not have been passed as the authorities wished.

Furthermore, Deputy Minister Igor Melicher argues that the legal analysis Naď cited doesn't exist in the department's files, although the former minister published it on his social media in May 2023.

After the last parliamentary elections in Slovakia, a government consisting of three parties was formed: the left-wing Smer and Hlas and the nationalist Slovak National Party. The cabinet is strongly critical of supporting Ukraine, and Prime Minister Robert Fico has already talked about "normalizing relations" with Russia after the war.

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