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EU Parliament refuses decision on budget until members commit more Patriots to Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova April 11, 2024 3:36 PM 2 min read
The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on Feb. 24, 2024. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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The European Parliament on April 11 refused discharge of the EU Council's budget until European leaders decide to support Ukraine with additional Patriot air defense systems, MEP Guy Verhofstadt said.

The decision was supported by 515 MEPs, with 62 voting against it.

As Russia intensified its attacks on Ukraine during the spring, the shortage of air defenses is increasingly felt in Ukrainian cities.

Kyiv has been urging allies to provide Ukraine with more air defenses, in particular, with U.S.-made Patriot systems that can intercept ballistic missiles.

"What I find scandalous is that Europe, which is opening the door for Ukraine, and the European Council are not even capable in such an urgency to decide to send a number of anti-missile systems to Ukraine," Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister and a known advocate of Ukraine, said at the parliament.

Verhofstadt reminded that the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, told the MEPs that EU states have 100 Patriot air defense systems, while Ukraine asks for seven of them.

"We, Europeans, we invite them to come to the European Union, but we are not capable to do so," Verhofstadt added.

The MEP proposed to withdraw the discharge of the EU Council's budget from the agenda until a decision is taken to provide Ukraine with seven air defense systems.

Verhofstadt's proposal was supported with applause during the session.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine needs 25 Patriots to cover the country completely, but Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he is initially focused on securing seven.

This would be enough to protect Ukraine's largest cities and leave at least one battery closer to the battlefield.

"I feel myself hitting the wall with my own head, although I am a diplomat, and that means I have to dismantle the wall brick by brick," Kuleba told the Washington Post on April 10.

Russia launches large-scale attack across Ukraine, hitting energy infrastructure
The attacks damaged energy facilities in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Lviv oblasts.
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