Latvia offers short-range air defense system to Ukraine

Andris Spruds
Andris Spruds

Latvia is prepared to provide Ukraine with a short-range air defense system, Latvian Defense Minister Andris Sprūds said, as published on the European Commission's website on April 22.

Read also: Pressure on Greece and Spain mounts from EU, NATO to supply Ukraine with air defense systems – FT

While some countries possess Patriot systems, others do not, and defense considerations encompass more than just these systems, Sprūds said.

"Patriot systems are very important; it has been also underlined by our Ukrainian partners," he said.

"At the same time, if we speak about air defense, we speak about quite wide spectrum of different air defense systems."

Read also: Finland to hold joint exercises with NATO members states near border with Russia

Sprūds underscored Latvia's readiness to contribute to Ukraine's air defense.

"We're speaking about a multi-layered approach, so there's, of course, short-range air defense," he said.

Additional air defense systems for Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 3 that Western partners do not want to give Ukraine "five or seven" Patriots, although they have more than 100.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on April 6 that 25 Patriot systems or their equivalents are needed to fully protect Ukraine's airspace from Russian attacks.

Kuleba said on April 12 that Ukraine is currently in active negotiations with its allies to supply two Patriot batteries and one SAMP-T. The Foreign Ministry also argued that Russia would not have destroyed the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant if Ukraine had a sufficient number of Patriot systems.

Zelenskyy also commented on the Russian strike on Chernihiv on April 17 that killed 18 people and said that "this would not have happened if Ukraine had received enough air defense systems."

Read also: If not donate, partners could sell Patriot systems to Ukraine — Dutch PM

EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said on April 18 at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers that EU countries should send their air defense systems to strengthen Ukraine's air defense.

Helmut Rauch, head of Diehl Defence, the arms company that produces the IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft missile system, said on April 18 that Ukraine would receive the new system "in the next few weeks."

At a meeting in Italy on April 19, G7 foreign ministers pledge to help Ukraine strengthen its air defenses.

The lower chamber of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives, adopted a bill providing over $60 billion in support for Ukraine on the evening of April 20.

The bill will be considered by the U.S. Senate on April 23, after which it will be signed by President Joe Biden.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine