Romania to Consider Sending One of Its Patriot Defense Systems to Ukraine

(Bloomberg) -- Romania will consider sending one of its Patriot air defense systems to neighboring Ukraine to help the war-torn country fend off Russian aerial attacks, President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday.

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Speaking after a meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, Iohannis said the eventual decision can’t jeopardize his country’s security. A NATO member for two decades, Romania shares the longest border with Ukraine among the European Union’s member states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the members of the alliance to boost air defense support for Ukraine at a key moment in the conflict as Russia has intensified its bombing campaign against energy infrastructure and cities.

Stoltenberg said last month that allies have identified additional air defense equipment for Ukraine, including Patriot and SAMP/T systems.

“President Biden raised the topic of Patriots and I told him that I’m open to discussing it,” Iohannis told reporters. “We’ll need to discuss it domestically, to see whether we can offer one system and of course what we can get in return, because it’s unacceptable that Romania is left without air defenses.”

Romania has one Patriot system that is already operational and another three that are in the process of being set up. It could consider transferring one of them to Ukraine, he said.

Iohannis also said that he discussed with Biden his bid to become the next NATO chief after Stoltenberg’s term ends this year. They agreed to continue the dialog, even as the US and most other members of the alliance have thrown their support behind outgoing Dutch Premier Mark Rutte.

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