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Borrel, Stoltenberg urge NATO to stop stockpiling Patriots, put Ukraine’s needs first

EU foreign policy chief and NATO Secretary General urge Allies to prioritize sending anti-missile systems to Ukraine over stockpiling them at home
Patriot anti-aircraft missile system launchers
Patriot anti-aircraft missile system launchers. Credit: Bundeswehr/Jonas Weber
Borrel, Stoltenberg urge NATO to stop stockpiling Patriots, put Ukraine’s needs first

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called on EU countries to send their anti-missile systems to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses as Russia continues to pound Ukrainian cities.

The statements come amid a hunt for Patriot systems to protect Ukraine from Russian missile attacks.

Speaking at a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers in Capri, Italy, Borrell warned that Europe cannot just rely on the United States to help Kyiv, Reuters reports.

“We have Patriots, we have anti-missile systems. We have to take them (out) from our barracks where they are just in case and send them to Ukraine where the war is raging,” Borrell said, according to Reuters.

Borrell expressed regret that “internal politics” in the US was delaying a much-needed aid package for Ukraine worth $60.84 billion. “We cannot only rely on the US We have to take our (own) responsibility and stop saying, ‘oh, the US will do’,” he added.

In a similar vein, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on 17 April during a press conference that NATO member countries have a sufficient number of air defense systems that can be provided to Ukraine for protection against Russian attacks.

While Stoltenberg refrained from specifying exact numbers due to the sensitive nature of the information, he acknowledged that the Alliance has a significant number of Patriot batteries, detailing only that there are less than 100 in Europe.

“The reality is that we have systems available that are big enough to enable us to deliver significantly more to Ukraine when it comes to air defense in general and also when it comes to Patriot batteries, and that’s exactly what we’re working on,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg emphasized that if Allies face a choice between meeting NATO capability targets and providing more aid to Ukraine, his message is clear: “Send more to Ukraine.”

  • The search for additional Patriot systems for Ukraine was launched after a spree of Russian missile strikes hit Ukraine’s power grid in March and April.
  • On 10 April, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Washington Post that Ukraine had identified 100 air defense systems in allied countries and asked to transfer at least seven of them to protect Ukrainian cities.
  • On 17 April, the German foreign and defense ministers announced the global initiative “Needed Action Air Defence” in a letter to dozens of countries to find additional air defense means for Ukraine.
  • On 18 April 2024, the Dutch PM offered to buy Patriot air defense systems for Ukraine from reluctant countries, though he did not confirm the exact number of batteries.
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