July 15. 2024. 6:57

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Romania to decide whether to send Patriot to Ukraine

It is not the right time for Romania to send a Patriot system to Ukraine, according to a Defence Ministry report that the Supreme Council of National Defence are set to decide on this Thursday.

President Klaus Iohannis received the report, which, according to sources quoted by Digi 24, states that it is not an “opportune” time to send a Patriot system to Ukraine. The document does not reject the proposal outright, as the final decision rests with the Supreme Council, which Iohannis chairs.

However, the situation is still expected to lead to complex discussions between political and military leaders within the Supreme Council.

According to some sources, it might approve sending the system if it can ensure Romania’s anti-aircraft defence remains unaffected.

Discussions on providing a Patriot system to Ukraine began in early May when President Iohannis discussed the matter with US President Joe Biden during a visit to the United States.

In May, Iohannis stressed that “it is unacceptable for Romania to remain without anti-aircraft defence” and insisted that “if something is given up, Romania must receive something in return.”

At the time, Romania had only one operational Patriot system, but a second system became operational on 14 June, with a third expected by the end of the year and a fourth early next year.

Romania has paid $4 billion for seven Patriot systems, four of which have been delivered by the United States so far, and the remaining three are due to arrive by 2027.

The report’s conclusion is not surprising, given that Defence Minister Angel Tîlvăr has repeatedly opposed the deployment of the system, which he considers “indispensable for the defence of the national territory.”

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu has also expressed reservations, saying that Romania does not currently have enough Patriot systems to spare. However, he conceded that ”placing a system in Ukraine could potentially benefit Romania’s defence”, although it remains ”a strategic decision with both pros and cons”.

At the NATO-Ukraine Council in April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine needed at least seven Patriot systems to counter Russian air strikes.

While several NATO countries have promised to send such systems, only a few, including the US and Germany, have fulfilled their commitments so far.

(Catalina Mihai | Euractiv.ro)

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