Greece and Spain under EU and NATO pressure to transfer air defense systems to Ukraine – FT

Air Defense
Air Defense

Greece and Spain are under strong pressure from their EU and NATO allies, who demand to supply additional air defense systems to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported citing its sources.

Kyiv urgently appealed to the Western allies with a request to provide seven additional air defense systems in April. Only Germany has announced additional Patriot system transfer to Ukraine after that, however.

Other EU leaders used Brussels summit to personally urge Spain’s and Greece’s prime ministers, Pedro Sanchez and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to hand over some of their systems to Ukraine, Financial Times wrote.

Both leaders, whose armed forces have more than a dozen Patriot systems in their possession, have been told that their needs are not as great as Ukraine's and that they face no imminent threat.

"We all know who has them, we all know where they are, and we all know who really needs them," said one of FT’s interlocutors.

Poland and Romania, which also have the Patriot faced less pressure to consider deliveries to Kyiv due to the fact that both countries have a more vulnerable location, both bordering Ukraine, officials said.

Pressure to provide air defense systems will intensify at a meeting of foreign and defense ministers from all 27 EU member states in Luxembourg, they added. Kyiv is particularly interested in outdated Greek S-300 systems, with which Ukrainian Armed Forces already know how to work, FT wrote.

"There are countries that don't need air defense systems immediately, to be honest,” said an unnamed EU diplomat involved in the meeting preparation.

“Each country is asked to decide what it can provide."

Greek and Spanish PMs were yet to provide comments to the publication.

New air defense systems for Ukraine

Ukraine was actively negotiating with allies to acquire two Patriot batteries and one SAMP-T unit, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 12, adding that if partners were ready to transfer these systems, the issue could be resolved “within weeks.”

Kyiv’s partners were reluctant to transfer "five to seven" Patriot systems to Ukraine, even though they have more than a hundred at their disposal, he said on April 3.

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

EU member states should buy air defense batteries if they cannot provide them to Ukraine from their own stocks, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in an interview with French outlet Le Monde on April 16.

Ukraine will receive a new IRIS-T air defense system promptly, ‘in the next few weeks’, Helmut Rauch, German weapon manufacturer Diehl Defence head, said.

Patriot systems from the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany arrived in Ukraine on April 19.

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