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At NATO-Ukraine Council, Stoltenberg says allies pledge more air defense systems

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 19, 2024 7:11 PM 2 min read
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference at NATO headquarters on Feb. 14, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium. (Omar Havana / Getty Images)
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NATO allies have pledged to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems, including Patriots, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO-Ukraine Council on April 19.

President Volodymyr Zelensky requested the gathering earlier this week amid Russia's intensifying aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities that continue to highlight the growing shortage of sufficient air defense systems.

"In addition to Patriots, there are other weapons that allies can provide, including (the French system) SAMP/T, and many others, who do not have available systems, have pledged to provide financial support to purchase them for Ukraine," said Stoltenberg.

In a Telegram post accompanying his televised remarks at the meeting, Zelensky said that Ukraine needs a minimum of seven Patriot systems, which would "save many lives."

Iran's massive drone and missile attack on Israel at the weekend has raised questions in Kyiv about the differences in how NATO countries help defend the skies of Israel and Ukraine.

Zelensky again referenced Iran's attack and the subsequent NATO defense, saying it had demonstrated the effectiveness of NATO's air defense capabilities. He added that NATO's intervention to protect Israeli skies "destroyed" the "dangerous myth" that NATO actions to defend a non-alliance member means that NATO is directly involved in a war.

Russia's recent strikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure destroyed several thermal power plants across the country, including the Trypillia plant, the main electricity supplier to Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Cherkasy oblasts.

Kyiv has ramped up its calls on allies to provide Ukraine with more air defenses, in particular with U.S.-made Patriot systems that can intercept ballistic missiles.

G7 foreign ministers vow to boost Ukraine’s air defense capabilities
The Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers promised on April 19 to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capabilities to protect civilians and critical infrastructure from Russian attacks.
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