Russian airstrikes hit Ukrainian infrastructure badly. At a NATO meeting, Kyiv is now demanding Patriot air defense systems. Germany hesitates.
Ukraine, like Germany, requested Patriot air defense systems from NATO. Before a dinner with NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the Patriots “most urgently” need Ukraine in addition to transformers for the damaged power grid. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg once again urged member states to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense.
Patriots to Kiev: Baerbock reluctant
Kuleba said in Bucharest that the Patriots must repel Russia’s new attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Poland has previously called on the federal government to make its system available to Ukraine. Berlin first offered it to Warsaw after the last rocket hits in the border area.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) expressed her reservations in Bucharest about transferring the Patriots to Kiev. NATO must ensure that it has sufficient supplies “in its alliance zone”. He also referred to the Iris-T air defense system delivered by Berlin. Three more to come next year.
Patriot training takes a long time
Stoltenberg urged member states to make more commitments: “We must help (Ukraine) defend itself and shoot down incoming drones and missiles,” he said. This is the “best way” to fend off Russian attacks on infrastructure. Kuleba summed up his demands from NATO in three words:
The delegations said that training on Patriot systems will take at least six months and will not help Ukraine in the short term. NATO foreign ministers remained ambiguous in a statement in Bucharest: “The Allies will help Ukraine repair its energy infrastructure and protect its people from rocket attacks.”
US pledges another $53 million in aid
In Bucharest, the US promised an additional $53 million in aid to Ukraine. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained, the US wants to “provide important equipment for the power grid” with this. This includes transformers and other technical equipment.
Blinken attended a meeting of some 20 partner countries and seven major industrialized countries (G7) in Bucharest. Secretary of State Baerbock had planned the G7 debate.
Germany is supplying more than 350 generators to Ukraine, as government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit explained after Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. France wants to deliver 100 more. Baerbock also referred to a charity conference to be held in Paris on 13 December.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a trilateral meeting with the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers in Bucharest. Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter that he once again clarified “Ankara’s expectations from the two northern NATO candidates”.
Of the 30 NATO countries, only Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the accession protocols of Sweden and Finland.
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