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Greece and Spain to Decline Sending Air Defense Systems to Ukraine

Greece, Spain will refuse to send Ukraine air defense systems (Credits:

The international community is scrambling to provide Ukraine with air defense batteries, but two key countries, Spain and Greece, have declined to donate their systems.

Despite Ukraine’s urgent need for at least seven advanced air defense batteries to protect its cities and critical infrastructure from Russian attacks, Madrid and Athens are prioritizing their own security concerns.

According to Spanish outlet El País, Madrid has refused to redeploy one of its three Patriot systems to Ukraine, instead committing to send missiles that can be used in existing versions of the surface-to-air system.

While the extra firepower will be welcome, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has clarified that his country is still far short of having the necessary air defense capabilities to counter Russian aggression.

Greece and Spain will not send air defense systems to Ukraine (Credits: Euractiv)

Allies had been hopeful that Spain could be one of the donors, as Kyiv attempts to fend off Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion. However, Spain’s decision not to donate its Patriot system has damaged Ukraine’s hopes.

Meanwhile, Greece also refuses to pledge a system, citing its security concerns with Turkey. According to Reuters, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated explicitly that “Greece is not going to send S-300 or Patriot to Ukraine” during an interview on domestic station Skai TV late Thursday.

Greek media had previously reported that an exchange deal may be possible, where the United States would agree to replace either a Patriot system based in Athens or an idle Soviet-era S-300 system stationed on the island of Crete, so they could be shipped to Ukraine. However, Mitsotakis explained that the systems are “critical to our deterrent capability,” and Greece cannot spare them.

Germany, which has promised Ukraine three of its Patriot batteries, has taken the lead in lobbying countries to donate their unused systems.

Greece and Spain under pressure to provide Ukraine with air defence systems (Credits: The Economic Times)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius expressed his expectation that countries will make a pledge, adding that he “could not understand” the refusal by the likes of Spain and Greece. On Friday, around 50 countries will meet via videoconference for US-led talks on coordinating further military aid.

In addition to Spain, Greece, and Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Poland also possess Patriot systems, and Ukraine is hoping for a breakthrough in the ongoing talks.

The international community’s response to Ukraine’s air defense needs will be critical in determining the outcome of the conflict, and the refusal by Spain and Greece to donate their systems has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the global response to Russian aggression.

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