Some European allies hold back air defense systems from Ukraine - Le Monde


Countries across Europe, including the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland, are reluctant to part with their defense systems to Ukraine, the French newspaper Le Monde reported on April 22, citing a German diplomat.

The U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands have delivered three Patriot batteries to Ukraine since the onset of full-scale Russian aggression. Berlin sent 12 IRIS-T air defense missile systems (with another 22 promised to be delivered). Washington also provided 12 NASAMS systems.

"The other countries refuse to part with them," said the diplomat, referring to the four member states.

Poland seeks to retain its air defense capabilities due to its proximity to Ukraine and Belarus.

Read also: Norway mulls increasing military aid to Ukraine

A French source, in communication with the publication, revealed that France and Italy also encountered significant challenges in supplying SAMP/T systems, the Franco-Italian counterpart of the Patriot.

"We're working on it both within the French administration and with our Italian partner, but we can't expect a response any time soon," the source said.

EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell urges member countries to purchase systems for Ukraine, arguing that acquiring American Patriot systems as quickly as possible, even with European funds, is less costly than aiding in the reconstruction of facilities destroyed during hostilities.

Additional air defense systems for Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 3 that Western partners do not want to give Ukraine "five or seven" Patriots, although they have more than 100.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on April 6 that 25 Patriot systems or their equivalents are needed to fully protect Ukraine's airspace from Russian attacks.

Kuleba said on April 12 that Ukraine is currently in active negotiations with its allies to supply two Patriot batteries and one SAMP-T. The Foreign Ministry also argued that Russia would not have destroyed the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant if Ukraine had a sufficient number of Patriot systems.

Read also: Latvia offers short-range air defense system to Ukraine

Zelenskyy also commented on the Russian strike on Chernihiv on April 17 that killed 18 people and said that "this would not have happened if Ukraine had received enough air defense systems."

Borrell said on April 18 at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers that EU countries should send their air defense systems to strengthen Ukraine's air defense.

Helmut Rauch, head of Diehl Defence, the arms company that produces the IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft missile system, said on April 18 that Ukraine would receive the new system "in the next few weeks."

At a meeting in Italy on April 19, G7 foreign ministers pledge to help Ukraine strengthen its air defenses.

Read also: U.S. House of Representatives passes $60 billion Ukraine aid bill

The lower chamber of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives, adopted a bill providing over $60 billion in support for Ukraine on the evening of April 20.

The bill will be considered by the U.S. Senate on April 23, after which it will be signed by President Joe Biden.

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