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Ukraine’s defense minister discusses air defense needs with Pentagon chief

Ukraine’s defense minister speaks with the Pentagon chief, emphasizing the urgent requirement to reinforce Ukraine’s air defense system to address the evolving military situation.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov (L) and United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (R). Photo: Facebook/Рустем Умеров
Ukraine’s defense minister discusses air defense needs with Pentagon chief

On April 16, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov conducted a phone conversation with Pentagon head Lloyd Austin, discussing Ukraine’s air defense requirements. Umerov shared some details of the discussion on his Facebook page.

Russia has increased the size and the scale of the attacks on Ukraine since last month, targeting mostly Ukraine’s energy and electricity infrastructure in eastern frontline oblasts, Kyiv, and western Lviv Oblast. The strikes are causing power outages in some cities, as Ukraine lacks air defense systems and cannot fully cover the air. Meanwhile, with US aid stalled by the Congressional Republicans, Ukraine is unable to replenish dwindling air defense munitions.

During their phone conversation, Umerov and Austin focused on enhancing Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and discussed Russia’s military plans, according to Umerov.

During today’s phone conversation, the focus was on discussing the enemy’s plans and how to disrupt them. I emphasized the need to continue strengthening our air defense and providing Ukraine with more missiles,” Umerov said in a statement.

Ukraine needs more air defense systems and munitions

Ukraine has repeatedly emphasized the urgent need for air defense supplies to protect against the barrage of Russian rockets targeting its power infrastructure. Recently, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba intensified their appeals for US-made Patriot batteries.

In an interview with PBS published on 16 April, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russian forces destroyed the Trypilska thermal power plant on 11 April using five Kh-69 missiles because Ukraine had exhausted its missile supply for the air defense systems guarding the facility.

Comparing the air defense capabilities of Israel and Ukraine, ISW stated on 14 April that Ukraine’s ability to repel enemy attacks is hindered by depleted defenses due to delays in US military aid.

Germany has pledged to assist Ukraine in acquiring air defense systems, with the German government planning to examine its inventories and source suitable systems globally for Ukraine. Additionally, Germany has announced the transfer of an extra Patriot system to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is in negotiations to secure two Patriot missile batteries and one Samp-T battery.

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