US Forces Allowed to Use Two Slovakian Air Bases for a Decade Under New Agreement

US Forces Allowed to Use Two Slovakian Air Bases for a Decade Under New Agreement

The parliament and the president of Slovakia approved a defense military treaty with the US on Wednesday.

In the 150-seat legislature, lawmakers from the four-party coalition and the opposition split 79-60.

Malacky-Kuchyna and Sliac will be used by the US military for 10 years, while Slovakia - a NATO member like the US - will get $100 million from the US to modernize them.

The signing of the agreement took place between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Slovakian Minister of Defense Jaroslav Nad on Feb. 3 at the White House. President Zuzana Caputova has ratified it.

Parliament voted amid fears of Russia invading Ukraine. Despite massing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine's borders, Moscow stated that it would not attack. Slovakia is in the EU.

It was backed by the government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger, who said it would "significantly enhance our security." But it was vehemently opposed by the opposition, which says it compromises the country's sovereignty and allows US troops to stay on Slovak soil and even deploy nuclear weapons there.

There are no permanent US bases or troop presences in Slovakia under the agreement. It fully respects Slovakia's sovereignty and laws, Blinken said during last week's signing ceremony at the US Department of State.

The agreement was opposed by thousands of people Tuesday in front of the parliament building in Bratislava when lawmakers debated it.

In addition to Poland and Hungary, two other NATO members that border Ukraine on the eastern flank, the US has such agreements with 23 other NATO members.

Deployment of US forces still needs to be approved by the Slovak government and parliament.