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French President Emmanuel Macron said on June 19 that the SAMP/T air defense system it pledged to Ukraine in a joint effort with Italy "is now deployed and operational in Ukraine, protecting key installations and lives," the Associated Press reported.
"It really is Europe protecting Europe," Macron said at a speech in Paris during an air defense conference that brought together EU defense ministers, U.S. and NATO military officials, and industry executives.
The delivery of the system was announced by France and Italy in February and according to leaked U.S. intelligence documents was set to arrive in Ukraine in June. Ukrainian troops completed training on the system in March.
Earlier in May, Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said that in order for Ukraine to protect against large-scale ballistic missile attacks, it needed air defense systems like the SAMP/T or American-made Patriot air defense systems.
Ukraine received two Patriot air defense systems at the end of April. The systems have been crucial to the country's ability to protect against Russia's frequent missile attacks across the country.