West failing to give Ukraine air defences it needs: EU’s Borrell

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024

BRUSSELS: Ukraine’s Western backers are failing to give Ukraine the air defence systems it desperately needs to protect itself from Russian bombardments, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.

Borrell said Kyiv was asking its allies to urgently send seven Patriot missile systems to help counter Russian attacks.

“It would be inconceivable that we are not able to provide them given that the Western armies have about 100 batteries of Patriot. And still we are not able to provide the seven they are asking desperately,” Borrell said.

Nato countries last week promised Kyiv they would look into their inventories for more air defence systems after Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, made a plea for Patriots.

Borrell said he would press European Union foreign and defence ministers again to come up with more air defences for Kyiv when they meet in Luxembourg later this month.

Kyiv’s outgunned forces are struggling to hold back Russia along the front line and Moscow has unleashed a fresh surge of attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

More than two years into Russia’s war, support from Kyiv’s Western allies has faltered.

Europe is struggling to generate enough weaponry and United States aid is blocked by political wrangling in Congress. “We have to fulfil our moral and political obligation towards Ukraine,” Borrell said.

“The situation is extremely difficult. The Russian military machine is running at full speed.” Borrell’s warning on Ukraine was part of a rallying call from the EU’s top diplomat for the 27-nation bloc to step up its efforts on defence in the face of greater threats.