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A German-operated MIM-104 Patriot missile fires an interceptor missile during Operation Red Arrow exercise in Greece on October 15, 2008 (Peter Mueller/Bundeswehr)
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Spain will send a small number of critically needed Patriot missiles to Ukraine, the El Pais newspaper reported on April 26, citing unnamed government sources, but has ruled out sending the system's anti-aircraft launchers.

The move is the latest from Western nations responding to calls from Kyiv for more air defenses in the face of escalating Russian missile and drone attacks on cities across the country.

The exact number of Patriot missiles Spain is sending has not been reported, but El Pais said the number would be small as the country only has around 50 in total in reserve.

"The transfer of a small number of missiles has come after the defense ministry refused to hand over to Ukraine the battery it has had deployed since 2013 on the Turkish-Syrian border," El Pais said.

"It will be a very limited number, as the Spanish war reserve is around 50 units, and interceptors are very expensive," it added.

U.S.-made Patriots are highly effective at intercepting Russia's ballistic and cruise missiles. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine needs 25 Patriots to protect the country from Russian attacks.

"We need to step up our commitment to Ukraine," a Spanish diplomatic source told Reuters on April 25.

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Germany said on April 13 that it would provide Ukraine with one more Patriot air defense system, bringing the total number of Patriots supplied by Germany to three.

But hopes that Greece would follow suit were dashed on April 25 when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country would not supply Ukraine with Patriots or S-300 missiles.

Kyiv is also pushing Washington for the joint production of Patriot air defense systems, Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova said in an interview with European Pravda on April 23.

"This is a major global strategic task and an element of economic cooperation. But it is also an increase in combat capability and production of the capabilities that Ukraine needs immediately," the ambassador said.

Representatives of Ukrainian and U.S. businesses have already reportedly met to discuss investment and cooperation not only in weapons but also in materials needed to launch the production.

"We should start producing a lot of products ourselves, at least components, and at most already completed products," Markarova added.

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