Greece and Spain Face Pressure from EU Nations

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.22 - 2024 10:30 AM CET

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Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
Greece and Spain are under pressure to transfer additional air defense systems to Ukraine.

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The Financial Times reports that Greece and Spain are facing growing pressure from EU and NATO allies to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems.

The urgency to enhance Ukraine's air defense capabilities comes as Kyiv has made a direct appeal to its Western allies for seven additional air defense systems, particularly in light of ongoing Russian missile and drone attacks.

Kyiv's Appeal for Air Defense Systems

Ukraine's request for more air defense systems has received a mixed response from European countries. Germany, for example, has announced it will deliver an additional Patriot system to Ukraine.

Officials report that EU leaders at last week's Brussels summit personally urged Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to consider contributing some of their air defense systems, including the Patriot and S-300 models.

The rationale behind this push is that Greece and Spain, unlike other EU countries, do not face immediate threats from neighboring conflicts. These countries collectively possess over a dozen Patriot systems, along with other air defense systems, suggesting that they could afford to contribute to Ukraine's defense efforts.

While Greece and Spain are being encouraged to provide their air defense systems, other countries like Poland and Romania, which also have Patriot systems, are not receiving the same level of attention due to their more vulnerable positions on Ukraine's border.

Upcoming Discussions: Support for Ukraine

Foreign and defense ministers from all 27 EU member states are set to meet in Luxembourg to discuss supplying Ukraine with additional air defense systems.

"There are countries that, to be honest, do not need an air defense system immediately. Each country is asked to decide what it can provide," said one EU diplomat involved in preparing for the meeting.

The Greek and Spanish defense ministries declined to comment.

After meeting with Zelensky last month, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Spain "will provide new opportunities in 2024 to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Friday that he expects new commitments for air defense supplies "to be announced in the near future," but did not specify which countries or what types of weapons might be involved.

As a reminder, the German ministers of foreign affairs and defense sent a letter to dozens of countries, announcing a global initiative to secure additional air defense means for Ukraine.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has previously indicated that Ukraine has identified 100 air defense systems in allied countries and is requesting the transfer of at least seven of them to help protect Ukrainian cities.

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