June 20, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Pressure on Greece and Spain regarding air defense to Ukraine

Greece and Spain are under pressure from their allies over the transfer of additional air defense systems to Ukraine.

About it tells Financial Times. In April, Kyiv made an urgent request to its Western allies to provide seven air defense systems. However, only Germany announced the supply of an additional Patriot system.

Other European Union leaders used last week's Brussels summit to urge Spanish Prime Ministers Pedro Sanchez and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to donate some of their systems to Ukraine, people familiar with the matter said.

Both leaders, whose militaries have more than a dozen Patriot systems plus others such as the S-300, were told their needs were not as great as Ukraine's and they faced no immediate threat. One source says:

“We all know who has them, we all know where they are, and we all know who really needs them.”

Officials said there would be less pressure on Poland and Romania, which also have Patriot, given their more vulnerable locations on the border with Ukraine.

Kyiv now has at least three Patriot systems, including one supplied by the US and two from Germany (before Berlin's April 13 announcement).

Pressure over systems donation will intensify at a meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of all 27 member states EU in Luxembourg on Monday, officials said. It is known that Ukraine is particularly interested in the legacy Greek S-300 systems already in service with Ukrainian forces, with which they have experience. An unnamed EU diplomat who was involved in preparing the meeting noted:

“There are countries that don't need an immediate air defense system, to be honest. Each country is being asked to decide what it can provide.”

The Greek and Spanish defense ministries declined to comment to the Financial Times. After meeting Zelensky last month, Sánchez said Spain would “provide new capabilities in 2024 to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday he expected new air defense commitments “to be announced shortly,” but did not provide details on countries or weapons.

The German foreign and defense ministers earlier announced in a letter to dozens of countries a global initiative to find additional air defense systems for Ukraine.

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