Greece and Spain beneath stress to offer Ukraine with air defence techniques

Keep knowledgeable with free updatesSimply signal as much as the Warfare in Ukraine myFT Digest — delivered on to your inbox.Greece and Spain are beneath intense stress from their EU and Nato allies to offer extra air defence techniques to Ukraine, as Kyiv demanded extra assist at a gathering of EU overseas and defence ministers on Monday.The Ukrainian management has made an pressing plea to western allies for seven extra air defence techniques, resembling US-made Patriots or Soviet-developed S-300s, as Russia steps up an air and missile marketing campaign in opposition to the nation’s cities and energy infrastructure.President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on X on Sunday: “Patriots can solely be known as air defence techniques in the event that they work and save lives fairly than standing motionless someplace in storage bases.”Solely Germany has introduced a cargo, of 1 Patriot system.Different EU leaders used a summit in Brussels final week to personally urge Spanish and Greek prime ministers Pedro Sánchez and Kyriakos Mitsotakis to donate a few of their techniques to Ukraine, in response to folks briefed on the discussions.The 2 leaders, whose armed forces possess between them greater than a dozen Patriot techniques plus others resembling S-300s, have been advised their want was not as nice as Ukraine’s and that they didn’t face any imminent risk. “Everyone knows who has them, everyone knows the place they’re, and everyone knows who actually wants them,” stated one of many folks.The stress to donate techniques intensified at a gathering of overseas and defence ministers of the EU’s 27 member states in Luxembourg on Monday. Ukraine’s overseas affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Rustem Umerov joined the assembly through videoconference.Kyiv is known to be significantly enthusiastic about Greece’s ageing S-300 techniques, which Ukrainian forces have already got of their arsenal and are skilled with.“There are international locations that aren’t in instant want of their air defence techniques, to be very sincere,” stated one EU diplomat. “Every nation is being requested to resolve what it can spare.”The defence ministries of Greece and Spain declined to remark when contacted by the Monetary Instances.Spain’s overseas minister José Manuel Albares was requested by reporters on Monday if the nation was getting ready to ship Patriots to Ukraine. “We’re properly conscious of Ukraine’s want for anti-aircraft defences and particularly for Patriot techniques,” he stated. “Spain has at all times completed every part inside its energy [to help].”Requested particularly about Spain donating Patriots, Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, stated: “We now have been asking all member states to do no matter they’ll as a way to enhance the air defence capability of Ukraine.”Officers stated much less stress was being placed on Poland and Romania, which even have Patriots, to contemplate shipments to Kyiv given their extra weak location on the border with Ukraine.Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk stated on Monday that the nation “doesn’t have this feature” to ship a system, given the necessity to shield a crucial provide depot for weapons destined for Ukraine within the south-eastern metropolis of Rzeszów.“There are additionally different sorts of weapons [than Patriots] that assist Ukraine shield the skies, and right here Poland will proceed to be energetic,” he added.Ukraine at current has a minimum of three Patriot techniques, together with one provided by the US and two from Germany, earlier than Berlin’s announcement final week. Kyiv additionally operates long-range surface-to-air missile techniques developed by the previous Soviet Union, together with the S-300 and S-200 techniques. A transformed and up to date model of the latter was used to down a Russian Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber over Russia’s Stavropol Krai area final week, in response to Ukrainian officers.Air defence interceptors are prone to be included within the new US help bundle accredited by the Home of Representatives on Saturday.RecommendedNato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg stated on Friday that he anticipated new pledges of air defence provides “will probably be introduced quickly” however didn’t present any particulars of the international locations or weaponry concerned.Nato has carried out an audit of the air defence capabilities its member states possess and the place they’re deployed, Stoltenberg stated, including that “this mapping confirms that there are techniques together with Patriot techniques accessible to be offered to Ukraine”.Stoltenberg spoke after a digital assembly of Nato defence ministers and Zelenskyy assembled to debate the air defence shortages.

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