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Kuleba calls for additional Patriots in wake of 'heinous attack' on Kharkiv

by Martin Fornusek May 23, 2024 3:01 PM 2 min read
The aftermath of a Russian missile attack against Kharkiv on May 23, 2024. (Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent)
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Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on May 23 again urged Kyiv's partners to provide additional Patriot air defense systems after Russia launched a deadly missile attack against Kharkiv Oblast.

Russian forces launched strikes targeting both Kharkiv and other settlements in the region, killing at least seven people and injuring dozens.

"This heinous attack must remind everyone around the world that Ukraine still urgently needs seven 'Patriot' systems," Kuleba said on X, thanking Germany for pledging an additional system last month.

"But getting six more as soon as possible remains critical not only for Ukraine’s survival but for peace in Europe.

"Everyone should clearly realize what is at stake. Every day of delay and debate not only costs lives but also brings the possibility of a larger war in Europe closer."

Germany took the lead in mobilizing air defense support for Kyiv, launching an initiative to secure additional anti-aircraft batteries that could be shipped to Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in Kyiv on May 21 that the initiative had already collected "almost a billion euros" as several allies provided financial contributions.

Partners are largely unwilling to commit to sending full systems, however, Politico reported, citing two undisclosed sources.

While Ukraine has been calling mainly for Patriots, the initiative also covers other systems, like SAMP/T, NASAMS, Hawk, IRIS-T, or S-300. The Italian media reported earlier in May that Rome plans to send an additional SAMP/T system to Ukraine in the next aid package, but no announcement has been made so far.

Nico Lange, a former chief of staff at Germany's Defense Ministry and a fellow at the think tank CEPA, told Politico that the sense of urgency in Europe "has not increased, there's more a sense of relief now that the Americans are delivering again."

Bloomberg reported last week that Washington is considering sending another Patriot system to Ukraine.

Ukraine currently operates at least three Patriots, with the systems and accompanying equipment provided by the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands.

Russian attack on Kharkiv kills 7, injures 17
Russian forces launched attacks against Kharkiv Oblast on May 23, killing at least seven people in Kharkiv and injuring at least 17, as well as at least 10 elsewhere in the oblast, as reported by local officials and a Kyiv Independent reporter.
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