At the request of NATO, Germany and the Netherlands will transfer American anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) Patriot to Slovakia. In return, Bratislava will send S-300 systems to Ukraine. It was announced on March 18 by the Dutch Ministry of Defense.
“The Cabinet [Dutch Ed.] considers it very important to make an active military contribution to strengthening the deterrence and defense of the NATO alliance. The deteriorating security situation in Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine makes this contribution necessary,” wrote Karin Hildur Ollongren, minister in the Dutch House of Representatives.
Patriot is a surface-to-air guided weapon system that can be used to destroy aircraft, helicopters, high-velocity ballistic and cruise missiles.
On March 16, CNN, citing a source in the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, announced that the United States would send Soviet air defense systems to Ukraine. In addition, the U.S. administration is considering supplying Ukraine with Switchblades high-precision guided missiles as part of military assistance.
On March 17, the Socialist Party of Bulgaria opposed the transfer of S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine.
“We still believe that Bulgaria should not supply weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. If it comes to discussing [deliveries of S-300 air defense], we will not support such a decision,” Deputy Prime Minister Kornelia Ninova said.
She added that no proposals for the supply of air defense to Ukraine were received at the disposal of the Ministry of Economy of Bulgaria.
On the same day, the British newspaper Financial Times reported that the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, will discuss the possibility of supplying Soviet S-300 systems during a visit to Slovakia and Bulgaria.
On the same day, Slovak Defense Minister Yaroslav Nagy discussed the situation in Ukraine and the defense of the eastern border with his American counterpart. In addition, the conversation touched upon the supply of military assistance to Ukraine by Slovakia – Soviet air defense systems.
A decision on this issue has not yet been made. The U.S. and NATO are still working to resolve this issue.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Soviet and Russian missile defense systems could not legally be transferred to third countries. In particular, he stressed that Moscow would not allow the transfer of S-300s from other states to Ukraine.
He also said that any cargo with weapons for Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russia.
“We have made it very clear that any cargo that will enter the territory of Ukraine, which we consider to be transporting weapons, will become a legitimate target,” Sergei Lavrov said.
Russia condemns the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West is pushing Kyiv to bloodshed by supplying weapons and mercenaries to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Air Defense situation
On 18th, a spokesman of the Air Force Command Yuri Ignat told RBC-Ukraine he would like to get a modern [Western Ed.] air defense system instead of old Soviet ones.
“We will also be helped by air defense systems, the same S-300 and “Buk”, for example, from the Warsaw Pact countries. But I would like to get modern medium-range mobile systems. It is much easier to work on them than on the Soviet ones. No matter how much someone says that they are too difficult for Ukrainian fighters, it is not so difficult for specialized anti-aircraft gunners to quickly understand what’s going on. This would help us a lot to control Ukrainian airspace,” he said.
He also said that Ukraine needs anti-missile weapons.
“Ideally, we also need anti-missile weapons. According to the Pentagon, more than 900 missiles have already been fired in Ukraine,” he said.
Turkish S-400 for Ukraine?
Turkey needs to make a deal with the United States and Ukraine, transferring the latter Russian S-400 systems to fight Moscow, a former CIA operative and director of the Intelligence Project, a training and research centre at Harvard University, told the Wall Street Journal.
“How about a triple game? The US is helping Turkey send its S-400s to Ukraine to attack Russian warplanes, offer the Turks a good new American replacement, and resume deliveries of F-35s,” he said.
The ex-intelligence officer also suggested that such a deal would help restore relations between Ankara and Washington.