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European countries reluctant to give Ukraine anti-aircraft "Patriots"

2024-04-22 14:34:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

European countries reluctant to give Ukraine anti-aircraft "Patriots"

It seems that European countries, which possess Patriot anti-aircraft missiles, are reluctant to give any of them to Ukraine. Ukraine badly needs at least seven "Patriots" to deter Russian airstrikes.

Russia's air force is far more powerful than Ukraine's, but the sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses of Kiev's western allies could pose a major threat to Russian aviation as Kremlin forces slowly advance along the 1,000-kilometer-long front line.

Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said her country is "considering every option for now" and that it is backing a German initiative to help Ukraine strengthen its air defenses and buy more drones.

Asked during a meeting of European Union foreign and defense ministers why the Netherlands is reluctant to give some Patriots to Ukraine, Slott said: "We are considering again whether we can give from our reserves, but it will be difficult." .

Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance "has drafted our weapons available across the alliance and has anti-aircraft missiles that can be donated to Ukraine."

He did not say which countries have Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.

The Patriots are anti-aircraft missiles that can engage fighter jets, cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.

The significant advantage of these US-made anti-aircraft, in addition to their efficiency, is the fact that Ukrainian troops are trained in how to use them.

It takes a long time to produce Patriots – as little as two years, according to some estimates – so countries are reluctant to give them away and expose themselves. Germany has 12 such, but is giving three to Ukraine.

Poland, which borders Ukraine, has two Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and needs them to defend itself.

Asked if his country would offer any, Sweden's Defense Minister Pal Jonsson said: "I don't rule out the possibility, but for now we are focused on contributing financially."

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares, said that his country will take "the decision in accordance with the power it has to support Ukraine"./ Rel

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