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Austin says US urging other partners to provide Patriots to Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 30, 2024 10:42 PM 2 min read
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attends a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on April 21, 2023 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
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The U.S. continues to encourage other countries to provide Ukraine with Patriot air defense systems, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 30.

Ukraine has asked international partners to deliver more air defense in the wake of an increase in Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure since March. U.S.-made Patriot systems are highly effective at intercepting Russia's ballistic and cruise missiles.

"There are countries that have Patriots, and so what we're doing is continuing to engage those countries," Austin said.

Austin said he had talked "to the leaders of several countries" over the last two weeks, "encouraging them to give up more capability or provide more capability."

Germany announced on April 13 that it would provide Kyiv with an additional Patriot system. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz then called on other NATO allies to do the same.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk responded that Poland could not give up the Patriot system installed at Rzeszow airport in southeastern Poland, as it is a key logistics hub for defense aid deliveries into Ukraine.

Greek media reported on April 22 that Athens planned to send at least one Patriot system to Ukraine, but Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ruled this out in an interview on April 25.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles then announced on April 26 that Spain would send Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Kyiv.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine needs 25 Patriots to protect the country from Russian attacks, but Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he is for now focused on securing seven to protect Ukraine's largest cities.

Israel to mothball its Patriots, fate of systems badly needed by Ukraine unknown
Israel did not say what would happen to the systems after they’re retired but Ukraine has for months now been asking for more Patriots to bolster the country’s air defenses.
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