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Slovakian opposition files complaint about fighter jet handover


Slovakia became the first country to officially hand over fighter jets to Ukraine. However, the move was controversial: the strongest opposition party has now filed criminal charges against the government.

By Marianne Allweiss, ARD Studio Prague

Slovakia delivered the first four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine on March 23. The other nine machines that have been promised are to be handed over in the coming weeks, according to the Ministry of Defense in Bratislava.

Marianne Allweiss
ARD Studio Prague

But now Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s controversial decision could have legal repercussions. Because Heger’s cabinet is only executive and with limited powers in office. The largest opposition party, the left-wing populist Smer, accuses the government of violating the constitution. She categorically rejects arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Smer filed criminal charges against all cabinet members involved in the decision on Monday, a party spokesman said. The complaint was made on suspicion of abuse of office and sabotage.

According to Smer boss Robert Fico, the Slovakian government has had no confidence in parliament since a successful no-confidence vote in December. At that time, the conservative-populist cabinet had finally failed due to internal disputes. The government therefore has no powers to determine the basic direction of Slovakia’s foreign policy. The delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine is such a fundamental issue.

Slovak government also plans ad

Slovakian Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad announced that he would file a complaint against Fico for defamation. It’s “not fun anymore”. The cabinet unanimously approved a bilateral agreement with the Ukrainian government. She is authorized to do so under Article 119 of the Constitution. Parliament President Boris Kollar and President Zuzana Caputova also agree with the procedure.

Nad referred to a legal analysis that the government had but could not be made public. However, this step was preceded by days of discussions and legal concerns. Originally, the Slovakian government wanted parliament to vote on the delivery of its decommissioned Soviet-design fighter jets to Kiev. But she would have needed a three-fifths majority to do so – and that would be uncertain without parts of the opposition.

“On the Right Side of History”

The Slovakian government is seen as clearly pro-Ukrainian. It had joined NATO member Poland and pledged MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine shortly after Warsaw.

Defense Minister Nad said Slovakia was “on the right side of history”. With this gesture, one entered modern world history in capital letters. Slovakia retired the jets last year. Only “enemy”, i.e. Russian technicians, could have waited for them. But Ukraine could use them immediately, it was said at the time.

In addition, Kiev is to receive parts of the “Kub” air defense system. As compensation for handing over the fighter jets, the US has offered the Slovakian government discounts on the purchase of new military helicopters. EU funds are also under discussion.

Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad is convinced of the Slovakian fighter jet delivery.

Image: AP

Majority against jet delivery

According to a recent poll, only 20 percent of Slovaks are in favor of delivering the MiGs, while 60 percent are against. Opposition leader Fico picks up on this sentiment. The long-time head of government has become radicalized in the opposition, has appeared at anti-corona demonstrations as well as alongside well-known pro-Russian activists.

Slovakia’s citizens should know that the government in resignation and the president are posing “an enormous threat” to the country, Fico said. He is curious to see what reactions “to this act of open hostility” will follow from Russia. This is “not our war” and Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

The opposition leader could return to power after snap elections in September. His former social democratic Smer party now leads in all polls.