Home » Nato countries to boost Ukraine’s missile defence after massive Russian strikes

Nato countries to boost Ukraine’s missile defence after massive Russian strikes

by Mahmmod Shar

By Yaroslav Lukov

Ukraine’s Nato-led allies have announced deliveries of advanced air defence weapons to Kyiv, after a spate of Russian missile strikes.

The weaponry promised by the UK, Canada, France and the Netherlands includes missiles and radars. The US earlier made a similar pledge. One high-tech system from Germany is already in Ukraine.

The pledges come as Ukraine’s allies from 50 countries meet at Nato headquarters in Brussels.

Kyiv hailed the summit as “historic”.

Ukraine says Russia fired more than 100 missiles and used dozens of drones on Monday and Tuesday, hitting energy infrastructure and other non-military targets.

At least 19 people were killed on the first day of the strikes.

They also resulted in widespread power cuts and water supply disruption in a number of Ukrainian cities. The authorities in the capital Kyiv had to resort to electricity rationing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the missile strikes were retaliation for an attack on a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea – Ukraine’s southern peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Russia says Saturday’s blast was organised by Ukraine’s intelligence agency – a claim rubbished by Kyiv.

To help Ukraine’s logistics and information gathering capacities, the UK will donate hundreds of aerial drones as well as air defense missiles. In addition to the 64 howitzer artillery guns already delivered, it will also deliver 18 more.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated that “Russia’s most recent indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation.”

“These weapons will support Ukraine’s overall missile defense and strengthen its ability to defend its skies from attacks.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they [Ukrainians] have what’s required to be effective” following the meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, announced that France would give Ukraine air defense systems.

He made no mention of the systems that would be sent in an interview with France 2 television. He did, however, mention that their primary duty would be to safeguard the populace from drones.

The Netherlands declared it would send air defense missiles worth €15 million (£13 million; $14.5 million).

Russian attacks, according to Dutch Minister of Defense Kajsa Ollongren, “can only be met with unwavering support for Ukraine and its people.”

More than C$47 million ($34 million; £31 million) in military assistance, including drone cameras and satellite communications, was promised by Canada.

The UK is anticipated to make its weapon deliveries public soon.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military announced earlier on Wednesday that the first of several “state-of-the-art IRIS-T SLM has been delivered from Germany to Ukraine”. It said the air defence system would help protect the country “against terror”.

President Zelensky has for months been asking Ukraine’s allies to provide air defence systems to create an “air shield” for Ukraine.

In his video address late on Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader said: “The more audacious and cruel Russian terror becomes, the more obvious it is to the world that helping Ukraine to protect the sky is one of the most important humanitarian tasks for Europe of our time.”

“I believe that we will cope with this task,” he added.

Russia has repeatedly warned Ukraine’s allies against supplying advanced weaponry to Kyiv, stressing this would make them participants of the war that Mr Putin began on 24 February.

The West has accused Moscow of nuclear sabre-rattling, following a string of Russian military defeats on the battlefield.

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