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European Union Countries Hesitant To Provide Ukraine With Patriots

Russian rockets are launched against Ukraine from Russia's Belgorod region, seen from Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

European Union countries possessing Patriot air defense systems are showing hesitancy in providing any to Ukraine, which is urgently seeking at least seven of the missile batteries to defend against Russian air attacks. Russia's air force holds a significant advantage over Ukraine's, making the need for sophisticated missile systems crucial in deterring Russian aviation as the conflict continues along the front line.

The Netherlands is exploring various options and offering financial support to a German initiative aimed at assisting Ukraine in strengthening its air defenses and acquiring additional drones. However, the decision to send Patriot systems is met with challenges, as countries are cautious about depleting their existing stockpile, considering the lengthy production time of up to two years for these systems.

NATO Secretary-General mentioned that there are systems within the alliance that could be made available to Ukraine, without specifying the countries possessing Patriots. The Patriot system is known for its capability to target aircraft, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles, making it a valuable asset for Ukraine's defense.

While Germany has agreed to supply three out of its 12 Patriot systems to Ukraine, other countries like Sweden are focusing on financial contributions and alternative defense systems to support Ukraine. The recent approval of a substantial financial package by the U.S. House of Representatives, including funds for Ukraine to purchase weapons, indicates potential future deliveries of air defense systems.

Amid concerns of possible Russian sabotage in Europe, Lithuania's Foreign Minister highlighted the need to address threats posed by Russia not only to Ukraine but also to European countries. Recent arrests in Germany on suspicion of espionage and planned attacks on U.S. military facilities underscore the ongoing challenges posed by Russian aggression.

As the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, NATO emphasizes the importance of ensuring that any support provided to Ukraine, including Patriot batteries, is well-maintained and adequately supplied with spare parts and interceptor missiles to effectively bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities.

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