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Kuleba to NATO: allies are not giving enough air defense

Ukraine’s partners are not providing enough air defense to protect against Russian missile attacks even though they have more than 100 Patriot systems in their own arsenals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday.
KYIV, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 2, 2024 – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba attends a joint news conference with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta Ian Borg, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. (Photo via Eastnews.ua)
Kuleba to NATO: allies are not giving enough air defense

Ukraine’s partners are not providing enough air defense to protect against Russian missile attacks even though they have more than 100 Patriot systems in their own arsenals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday in an interview with Reuters.

The Ukrainian minister of foreign affairs said he would raise the issue of Patriot missile defense systems in a series of meetings with NATO counterparts over the next two days in Brussels. Ukraine would have need of at least seven more, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda.

“Partners did provide us with their different (air defense) systems, we appreciate that, but it’s just simply insufficient, given the scale of the war,” Kuleba said.

According to the Ukrainian foreign minister, Ukraine’s partners had more than 100 Patriot systems at their disposal but had so far not been willing to share even five to seven more – the number that Kyiv says is the minimum needed to provide significant additional protection.

“Is it such a big problem? Is it not feasible to provide Ukraine with the minimum request?”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs wondered.

Russia fired over 3,000 guided aerial bombs, 600 drones and 400 missiles at Ukraine in March alone, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday. In addition, Kuleba said Russia’s attacks in March involved 94 ballistic missiles, which are much faster than more commonly used cruise missiles, and harder to shoot down.
”The solution is there. It’s just an issue of political will. So someone has to make the decision”, as argued by Kuleba.
Kuleba said it was not clear to him why allies were so far not providing extra Patriots, especially as Kyiv’s partners did not face the missile threat that Ukraine faces every day.He argued that such support would help defeat Russia and prevent a larger war across Europe.
“When I say that Europe will be at war and missiles will be falling on Brussels and other European cities. I’m not exaggerating. All of this is going to happen if Ukraine doesn’t win the war against Russia”, Kuleba warned.

Polish help

At the same time, Dmytro Kuleba spoke to his Polish counterpart, Radoslaw Sikorski, on how Poland can help protect Ukrainian airspace from Russian missiles, as reported by Ukrinform.

“During the meeting with Radoslaw Sikorski, we discussed how Poland can contribute to the protection of Ukrainian airspace from Russian missiles and how to protect Polish airspace from their intrusions”, Kuleba said.

He emphasized that Ukraine is currently the only country in the world that defends itself from ballistic missile attacks almost daily, so all the Patriot batteries available in the world that can be provided to Ukraine should be delivered to Ukraine as soon as possible.

“There is no more important place for them,” the Foreign Minister emphasized.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister is visiting the headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) in Brussels on April 3-4 and will participate in a ministerial meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council.

During his visit, the alliance will discuss creating a 100-billion fund for Ukraine, which would act as a five-year package of military aid to Ukraine, that would give the Western alliance a more direct role in providing support to Kyiv, five diplomats said on Tuesday.

Under the plan, NATO would take over some coordination work from a US-led ad-hoc coalition known as the Ramstein group – a step designed in part to guard against any cut in US support if Donald Trump returns to the White House, diplomats said.

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