EU ministers stop short of Patriot pledges for Ukraine

European Union ministers said on Monday they were looking urgently at how to provide more air defenses to Ukraine but they stopped short of concrete pledges of the Patriot systems that Kyiv values most.

Since Kyiv began a push for more Patriots in recent weeks, Germany has been the only EU country to pledge an extra battery.

Other European countries including Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden also have Patriot systems.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed frustration at the lack of additional pledges, saying he was trying to “make everybody understand and be aware” of the need to do more to help Kyiv.

“I don’t have Patriots in Brussels, the Patriots are in the capitals. And it’s up to them to take the decisions,” Borrell said after the meeting.

With Russia having stepped up air attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and cities, EU governments are under pressure to supply more protective systems to Kyiv.

The EU ministers said the US House of Representatives vote to approve a $60 billion Ukraine package at the weekend should not lead to any complacency on their part.

But countries that have US-made Patriots – which Ukraine already uses and values highly for their ability to shoot down fast-moving ballistic missiles – were non-committal on Monday.

Officials say it is hard to part with Patriots as they are an integral part of national defenses.

Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson said Stockholm had already agreed to give air defense weapons, including the RBS 70 portable system.

Asked if Sweden would also provide Patriots, he said: “I don’t exclude that possibility but right now we’re focused on a financial contribution but also possibly (more) RBS 70 because that could alleviate some of the pressure on the Patriots.”

Greece has long resisted sending larger-scale defense systems or jets to Ukraine, mainly because of its own tensions with Turkey, although it has sent arms and ammunition.

Asked if Greece was planning to send S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, government spokesperson Pavlos Marinakis said in Athens: “There won’t be any move that would even minimally endanger the country’s deterrent capability or air defense.”

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said the so-called Ramstein group of countries that supply military aid to Ukraine would meet at the end of the week. That meeting would provide another opportunity for governments to announce pledges.

Related Articles

Back to top button