Germany to send new Patriot air defence system to Kyiv at ‘critical time’: Zelensky

Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

KYIV:Germany will supply a U.S.-made Patriot air defence system and air defence missiles to Ukraine at a “critical time” as Kyiv struggles to defend its energy system from Russian bombardment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday.

More than two years into its full-scale invasion, Russia has staged three massive airstrikes on power stations and substations in recent weeks, prompting Kyiv to issue desperate appeals for supplies of high-end air defences.

“Germany will deliver an additional Patriot air defence system to Ukraine,” Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X, a reminder that Germany is now a key backer of Ukraine with U.S. assistance stuck in Congress.

“We stand steadfast on the side of Ukraine,” Scholz said, adding that Zelensky had informed him in a telephone call on Saturday about “massive Russian air attacks on civilian energy infrastructure”. Zelensky said he was grateful to Scholz for the decision to supply another, additional Patriot system and missiles for existing air defence systems.

He described their conversation as “important, productive” and said: “I call on all other leaders of partner states to follow this example.”

A German government spokesperson said in a statement that the two leaders discussed measures to further strengthen Ukraine’s air defence. “They agreed that further efforts by partners were necessary,” the statement read.

Germany will hand over the Patriot system immediately and it will be in addition to air defence systems that were already delivered and planned, the defence ministry said in a post on X.

An April 10 German government summary of arms and military equipment transfers to Ukraine included two Patriot systems on a list of air defence supplies already delivered, making this the third from Germany.

Zelensky said last week that Ukraine needed 25 U.S.-made Patriot air defence systems to cover the country from Russian attacks.

In his statement on the Telegram app on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said he and Scholz also discussed preparations for a reconstruction conference in Berlin and a peace summit in Switzerland in June.