May 23. 2024. 7:46

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Denmark, Czechia, the Netherlands look to support air defence for Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday (17 April) called on Kyiv’s allies to dig deeper into their stockpiles to support Ukraine militarily, while three European leaders said they would look at the possibility of supplying missile defence systems.

So far, leaders have been reluctant to give everything they have, keeping some critical defence equipment on hand — except Denmark — to avoid jeopardising their national defence readiness.

However, Stoltenberg pressed for deliveries to happen anyway and for governments to forget about the stockpiling.

“Ukraine needs even more, that is why if [NATO] allies face a choice between meeting the capability [stock] targets and providing aid to Ukraine, my message is clear: send more to Ukraine,” he said.

Ukraine is asking for seven air defence systems to protect their critical infrastructure from Russian missiles, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said last week, encouraging military allies to hand over what they have in stock as soon as possible.

The country is currently defending a 1,000-kilometre front while suffering bombing of critical infrastructure, searching for additional troops and preparing for a spring offensive, with officials calling air defence systems crucial in their fight.

However, after two years of military support, Kyiv’s Western allies have depleted their warehouses and grappled with slow military production capacity.

Berlin announced last week it would send one of its Patriot missile defence systems, plus ammunition, to the war-torn country, serving as a nudge to other countries.

“Germany’s decision to donate another patriot system to Ukraine asks the important question that all of us put on the table: are we not better off sending a few of our own air defence systems to Ukraine, at a time when they, not we, are struggling with attacks?”, Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen said.

Leaders of Denmark, Czechia and The Netherlands “will be looking in what ways we can support the German initiative,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

“We know we have air defence systems in Europe; some have to be delivered,” Fredriksen added.

Rutte added, “We (…) need to take a critical look at the stocks to determine the scope of our commitment”, hinting that the Dutch government could dig deeper into its arsenal while waiting for production to pick up.

Borrell said last week Europe has around 100 US-made Patriot batteries and systems available, while Stoltenberg on Wednesday noted the EU’s estimation was too high.

Meanwhile, the US has more than 300 Patriot launchers, according to official documents.

Czech deliveries in June

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the fundraising he led over the past couple of months has managed to buy around 500,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, while almost 200,000 are under contract and another 300,000 are being contracted, with the first deliveries expected in June.

The country was behind an initiative that sourced some 800,000 rounds of ammunition globally, either already manufactured or quickly available.

Read more with Euractiv

EU member states weigh a ‘positive message’ to Turkey

EU member states weigh a ‘positive message’ to Turkey

European diplomats have been negotiating “how much positive” a message toward Turkey will be at the EU summit on 17 April as well as if something tangible could be offered to Ankara, Euractiv has learnt.