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Saturday May 18, 2024

Ukraine calls for ‘bold’ air defence support from allies

Russian missile and drone attacks have pounded Ukrainian energy infrastructure since mid-March

By Reuters
April 16, 2024
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces attend tactical, combat and first aid training course during Russias military invasion launched on Ukraine. — AFP/File
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces attend tactical, combat and first aid training course during Russia's military invasion launched on Ukraine. — AFP/File 

KYIV: Ukraine appealed again to allies on Monday for “extraordinary and bold steps” to supply air defences to help defend against waves of Russian air strikes that have targeted the energy system in recent weeks.

Russian missile and drone attacks have pounded Ukrainian energy infrastructure since mid-March, prompting Kyiv to issue increasingly desperate calls for air defence help. “We urgently require additional Patriot and other modern air defence systems, weapons and ammunition,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a Black Sea security conference via video link. “I take this opportunity to once again urge all of our partners to take extraordinary and bold steps.”

“Ukrainian air defence is now protecting not only Ukrainian skies from Russian air terror, it also shields neighbouring Moldova, Romania and Poland from the immediate threat of missiles and drones entering their air space,” he added.

Western allies have been reluctant to send additional air defences to Kyiv, while Ukraine needs 26 Patriot systems to cover the country’s territory in full. Germany has pledged to deliver another system following calls from Kyiv.

On Monday, Kuleba met his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide who is visiting Ukraine’s capital to coordinate efforts to ensure prompt supplies of Patriots.“We are discussing with others how we could be helpful in making sure that more Patriots are made available,” Eide said.