By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Slovakia and Poland have confirmed they are delivering fighter planes to war-torn Ukraine despite warnings from Moscow that this will further escalate the armed conflict. The announcement came as Hungary again postponed a crucial vote on the expansion of the NATO military alliance at a time when it maintains close relations with Russia.
Slovakia’s prime minister said his country would donate more than a dozen Soviet-era warplanes to Ukraine following a similar move by Poland. Prime Minister Eduard Heger explained that the government “unanimously decided” to deliver 13 MiG-29 aircraft “and part of the KUB air defense system.”
However, he tried to play down criticism, adding: “We made a decision in a constitutionally pure form, in accordance with the constitution.”
The move came one day after Poland pledged to send four MiG-29 warplanes that Ukrainian pilots were trained to fly.
The decision by Slovakia and Poland to deliver these fighter jets came despite warnings by Russia that it would destroy any warplane given to Ukraine by its allies. Their actions added to tensions within the Visegrad Group, a political and cultural alliance comprised of Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Of all four nations, Hungary arguably has the closest ties with Russia. However, it has refused to deliver any weapons to Ukraine, saying it prefers a ceasefire and peace talks.
Hungary also opposed several sanctions against Moscow.
And besides Turkey, Hungary is the only European member state of NATO that has still not ratified the enlargement of the military alliance to include Finland and Sweden. Hungary’s main ruling Fidesz party said it was only prepared to vote on the issue on March 31 after postponing the ratification several times.
Some Hungarian lawmakers raised doubts about whether to support the NATO membership applications by Sweden and Finland, citing what they call “blatant lies” from Stockholm and Helsinki about Hungary’s perceived violations of democratic values.
Ironically Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Friday that his country would agree with Finland’s membership.
As the political wrangling continues, so does the bloodshed in Ukraine. In addition, the international criminal court issued arrest warrants for Russia’s president Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes, potentially complicating his travel plans.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians are believed to have been killed or wounded, while millions were displaced.
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