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9 Apr, 2024 16:34

Patriot reserves exhausted – German FM

The West is scouring the world for more anti-aircraft systems to send to Kiev
Patriot reserves exhausted – German FM

Ukraine urgently needs more air defense missiles, but Berlin doesn’t have any to give, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday.

Baerbock spoke with reporters after meeting with her Moldovan counterpart, Mihai Popsoi, in Berlin. 

“Unfortunately, the stocks, especially our own Patriot systems, are now pretty much exhausted,” she said. “Therefore I made it clear at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting that we need to check the availability of all Patriot systems in Europe and globally, and that we will make every effort to obtain these systems for Ukraine.”

Officially, Germany has sent Ukraine two batteries of the US-made Patriot systems. Late last month, the government said it was preparing additional systems for delivery, without specifying their number. 

Berlin is working with Kiev and other European countries to buy Patriot systems from elsewhere and deliver them to Ukraine, Baerbock said, noting that a special fund might be set up for that purpose. An update on the project might be available at next week’s meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in Italy, she added.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly demanded more Patriot systems and missiles for them. His foreign minister, Dmitry Kuleba, said last week that Kiev’s “partners” had more than 100 of the air defense systems on hand but weren’t willing to provide half a dozen of them.

“Is it such a big problem? Is it not feasible to provide Ukraine with the minimum request?” Kuleba said at the time, adding that the systems delivered so far were appreciated, but “simply insufficient, given the scale of the war.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded by saying that the US-led bloc would “explore opportunities” to supply Ukraine with more air defenses.

So far, the US, Germany and the Netherlands have sent several Patriot launchers to Ukraine. While Kiev has claimed that they are very effective against the incoming missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry has provided evidence that several of the launchers and radars have already been destroyed.

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