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Kuleba calls on allies to provide Ukraine with Patriot air defense systems

by Kateryna Hodunova April 3, 2024 11:04 PM 2 min read
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the 'Ukraine. Year 2024' forum in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 25, 2024. (Photo by Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held several meetings on April 3 with Ukraine's allies in Brussels, discussing strengthening Ukrainian air defense systems, the minister wrote on X.

The NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Belgium's capital on April 3-4 gathered the representatives of the alliance to celebrate its 75th anniversary and discuss further assistance for Ukraine, as well as the potential candidates for the secretary general's position after the end of Jens Stoltenberg's term in October.

In Brussels, Kuleba met his Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski and discussed further Polish contribution to the defense of Ukrainian air space, as well as Ukraine's efforts to protect Poland from Russian missiles' incursions after several corresponding cases were reported, including the latest on March 24.

"Ukraine is currently the only country in the world that defends itself against ballistic missile attacks almost every day," Kuleba wrote on X.

Kuleba stressed Ukraine's need for Patriot air defense systems, saying that "there is no more important place for them" other than Ukraine.

During the meeting with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, Kuleba also conveyed the urgency of providing Ukraine with air defense systems that can intercept ballistic missiles.

"We discussed the importance of collective efforts to strengthen Ukraine's defense for securing peace in Europe," the foreign minister wrote on X.

Kuleba held a meeting with the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and thanked him for the readiness to ramp up efforts to find available Patriot systems for Ukraine.

The current status of EU artillery ammunition deliveries to Ukraine, the next EU sanctions package against Russia, and the upcoming Ukraine-EU defense industries forum, which will take place in 2024, were among other topics of the discussion with Borrell, Kuleba said.

Earlier, Kuleba told Reuters that Ukraine's partners had more than 100 Patriot systems at their disposal, but they did not want to share at least five or seven of them – the minimum required number to significantly improve additional protection, according to Kyiv's calculations.

As Russia intensified its attacks on Ukraine during the spring, the shortage of air defense systems in Ukrainian cities and villages became more tangible.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia reportedly launched over 400 missiles of various types, 600 Shahed drones, and 3,000 guided aerial bombs at Ukraine in March, causing severe damage to the civilian and energy infrastructure.

"This will not happen when Ukraine receives reliable air defense systems that can save the lives of our people and restore security to our cities," Zelensky said in his address on April 3.

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