Copyright © 2024 Euromaidanpress.com

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Ukraine pleads for air defense systems, missiles ahead of Ramstein meeting

Ukraine missile defense
Ukrainian air defense shoots down Russian missiles. Photo: Ukraine’s Air Force
Ukraine pleads for air defense systems, missiles ahead of Ramstein meeting

Ukraine has called for an increase in the supply of both air defense systems and missiles, as its air defense forces spent a significant number of missiles fending off massive attacks from Russia during the fall and winter, according to Colonel Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force.

Speaking on air of the national telethon, Ihnat revealed Ukraine’s air defense forces destroyed 750 Russian cruise missiles and 750 kamikaze drones in this period. In addition to these defensive efforts, the Ukrainian Air Force has also taken down 600 units of piloted enemy aircraft, such as planes and helicopters, throughout the ongoing war, Ihnat said.

“We expect our partners to increase not only the supply of the complexes themselves but also the missiles. The expenditures of missiles are quite serious,” Ihnat said.

Earlier, the Financial Times reported, citing three briefed officials, that Ukraine Ukraine will urgently request surface-to-air missile shipments at the Ramstein military coordination group meeting on 21 April, concerned that a severe shortage could allow Russia to launch extensive bombing attacks. Western capitals are apprehensive that without adequate air defenses, a long-planned counter-offensive against occupying Russian troops may stumble.

Ukraine has received recent shipments of Soviet-designed MiG fighter jets as an attempt to offset the threat of Russia’s large, yet mostly unused, air power. However, Kyiv urgently needs more short-range air defense, i.e. missiles capable of shooting down fighter jets, having used a significant amount to counter Moscow’s drone and missile barrages. “If they use them all up, it opens the space up for air forces,” said a European official, adding that if Russia can deploy “dumb bombers,” Ukraine will be in trouble.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced on 19 April that Ukraine had begun receiving US-made Patriot missile systems, marking the most advanced air defense systems provided by Western backers so far. Despite this, the ongoing need to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks has systematically depleted Ukraine’s stockpiles.

Sir Richard Barrons, former head of the British armed forces, told the Financial Times that if Ukraine’s air defense runs out of ammunition, the material cannot be easily or quickly replaced by the West, leaving Ukrainian forces “very vulnerable” and enabling the Russian air force to “penetrate anywhere it chose to in Ukraine.”

The Financial Times report confirms earlier warnings based on leaked Pentagon documents that Ukraine’s air defense network is at risk of collapsing if it does not receive a significant influx of munitions to counter Russia’s air force.

According to New York Times, which analyzed the documents, missile stocks for Soviet-era S-300 and Buk air defense systems, which account for 89% of Ukraine’s defense against most fighter planes and some bombers, were anticipated to be entirely exhausted by May 3 and mid-April, according to one leaked document. The assessment, issued on February 28, was based on consumption rates at that time; it is unclear if these rates have since changed.

The same document estimated that Ukrainian air defenses, designed to safeguard troops on the front line where much of Russia’s air power is focused, will be “completely depleted” by May 23, leading to pressure on the air defense network further into Ukrainian territory, New York Times wrote. The danger in this situation is that as Ukraine’s missile reserves deplete, Moscow could decide to unleash its air force, which poses a major challenge for the Ukrainian military.

The leaked documents reveal that Russian fighter jets currently deployed in the Ukraine theater number 485 compared to 85 Ukrainian jets. With its extensive air capabilities, the Russian Air Force could have a decisive impact on the war if Ukraine’s air defenses weaken, New York Times noted.

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here


    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Stay informed with Kompreno.
    • Get quality journalism from across Europe.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!