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Borrell calls on Europe to increase air defense support in wake of Kharkiv attack

by Abbey Fenbert May 26, 2024 4:15 AM 2 min read
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the von der Leyen Commission, stands in the European Parliament building and speaks. (Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, condemned Russia's attack against a hypermarket in Kharkiv and urged Europe to send Ukraine additional air defense in a social media post on May 26.

Russian forces struck a crowded hardware shopping center in Kharkiv with two guided bombs in the middle of the day on May 25, killing at least six people and injuring at least 40 others.

"I condemn in the strongest terms  Russia's heinous attacks against Kharkiv city today, including a crowded mall, killing and wounding  civilians," Borrell said on X following the attack.

"All perpetrators of these and other Russian war crimes will be held to account."

Borrell said the deadly attack emphasizes Ukraine's urgent need for additional air defense systems and called on European countries to provide assistance.

Russia’s latest offensive into Kharkiv Oblast is stretching Ukrainian defenses
Russia’s two-pronged assault in Kharkiv Oblast that began on May 10 is exploiting Ukraine’s troop shortage, forcing it to make difficult decisions about where to commit reserves. Two weeks into the offensive, one group of Russian forces is already fighting in the streets of the town of Vovchansk

"These systematic Russian crimes against civilians and civilian infrastructure stress again the need for Europe to urgently ramp up support for air defense: it saves lives and protects Ukrainian towns," Borrell said.

Borrell's plea echoes that of Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who asked allies to send Patriot air defense systems following news of Russia's attack.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, too, reiterated the importance of air defense weapons in the aftermath of the hypermarket bombing.

"When we tell world leaders that Ukraine requires adequate air defense protection, that true decisiveness is required to ensure the effective protection of our people's lives and that Russian terrorists cannot even approach our borders, we are literally talking about how not to allow such terrorist strikes," Zelensky said.

Borrell on April 18 urged EU member nations to supply Ukraine with additional anti-missile systems, sounding the alarm on escalating Russian strikes.

Russia launched a new offensive against Kharkiv Oblast on May 10, with a reported 30,000 troops.

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