Ukraine seeks G7, Nato help for battered air defences

Friday, Apr 19, 2024

CAPRI, Italy: Ukraine warned foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major powers on Thursday they had to change strategy if they wanted Kyiv to withstand increasingly destructive Russian air assaults.

G7 ministers meeting on the island of Capri acknowledged the need to get more air defence systems to Ukraine and applauded Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as he joined them on the second day of their three-day gathering.

The G7, comprising Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Britain, the United States and European Union representatives, has been fiercely critical of Russia’s two-year long invasion of Ukraine.

However, military aid to Kyiv has slowed in recent months, with European partners apparently running low on ammunition and vital US funding blocked by Republicans in Congress for months.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived in Capri, Kuleba bemoaned the fact that while US, British and French forces had intervened on Saturday to help prevent Iranian missiles from hitting Israel, his own country lacked vital defences.

“The strategy of our partners in Israel seems to be in preventing damage and death. ... In the last months, the strategy of our partners in Ukraine seems to be in helping (us) to recover from damage,” he said.

“So our job today is to find a way where our partners will design a mechanism, a way that will allow us also to avoid death and destruction in Ukraine.”

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also took part in Thursday’s G7 meetings, telling reporters beforehand that the military alliance was actively seeking to send more air defence systems as quickly as possible.

“We are working at the possibility of (dispatching) more Patriot batteries to Ukraine. We are in dialogue with some specific countries,” he said.

Germany has already said it would hand over one Patriot system. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged other EU nations to do likewise to help stave off concerted Russian attacks on vital Ukrainian infrastructure.

“Otherwise the electricity system of Ukraine will be destroyed. And no country can fight without having electricity at home, in the factories, online, for everything,” he told reporters in Capri.