Drones, hand-held anti-aircraft and anti-tank robots have been sent in large numbers to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country.
Ukraine has also asked the Western world for help with larger and more expensive weapons systems in the fight for air supremacy over the country. But larger systems proved difficult to break, one reason being that countries that could send systems to Ukraine at that time didn’t have enough to defend themselves.
Among other things, Poland initially stated that it was ready to make its Soviet Mig-29 available to Ukraine, a kind of scheme that Ukrainian pilots are trained to use. Poland should then have ordered a US F-16 instead, but that turned out to be easier said than done. In addition, the United States was skeptical about the transfer of Polish aircraft to Ukraine through the German air base Ramstein.
It seems that a similar situation has now arisen around the S-300 air defense systems. Ukraine uses the system developed by the Soviet Union, which has been identified as the cause of Russian air casualties. Portable systems have a much longer range than portable Stinger robots. The S-300 is also available in Slovakia, according to Washington Post They said they are ready to send to Ukraine.
– But Defense Ministry spokeswoman Martina Koval Kakasikova said, according to several media outlets, that we cannot get rid of a system that protects our airspace if we do not get something to replace it.
The systems are said to have been on the agenda when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Slovakia last week, but it is unclear if that led to any immediate results.
Unlike combat aircraft, US President Joe Biden has promised to help Ukraine with long-range air defenses, such as the S-300.
Hurry to get ready
Germany and the Netherlands offered to supply Slovakia with a Patriot anti-aircraft battery.
These are ongoing discussions we have, not only with that country (Slovakia), but with many others about how we can provide Ukraine with this kind of defensive capability, including long-range air defense that we know they are comfortable using, training with, in their inventory and can Strengthen it, says Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at a news conference.
It is important to put the systems in place quickly in Ukraine, but moving the Patriot systems to Slovakia could take weeks, according to AFP.
– We want to do it as quickly as possible, Kirby says.
– We are, of course, aware of the hour, that Russia is intensifying its bombardment and long-range bombing of cities and population centers throughout the country. So we actively have these discussions, every day, he says.
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