Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that the Czech government will send fighter jets to Slovakia to help protect their neighbor country’s airspace.
Fiala made the revelation during a televised debate with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.
According to the Fiala, the Czech army’s Gripen JAS-39 fighter jets will begin air policing Slovakia in September and continue doing so through at least the end of 2023.
Fiala confirmed that Poland is anticipated to participate as well.
Prior to grounding its fleet of MiG-29 aircraft and beginning negotiations to deliver them to Ukraine, Slovakia had already sought NATO partners for assistance in manning its airspace patrol.
Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová also previously approved the deployment of Czech armed forces in Slovakia until 2023, with an estimated 650 soldiers taking part in the program.
According to the Czech Defense Ministry, the deployment of Czech forces in Slovakia is a part of the attempt to bolster the eastern arm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“I believe that the mandate will be approved as soon as possible. In light of Putin’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine, there is no time to delay. We want to help our Slovak partners to build a battlegroup, which we would also command, as soon as possible,” said Černochová.
Černochová confirmed that the defense ministry’s budget will cover the estimated $540 million cost of the Czech Armed Forces’ deployment and operation in Slovakia.
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