Ukrainian foreign minister says allies have not provided enough air defense systems despite having Patriot missiles to counter Russian attacks

Ukraine’s partners are not providing enough air defense to protect against even though they have more than 100 Patriot systems in their own arsenals, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday.In an interview with Reuters, Kuleba said he would raise the issue of Patriot missile defense systems in every one of a series of meetings with NATO counterparts over the next two days in Brussels.In recent weeks, Russia has unleashed an increased barrage of attacks on and energy infrastructure, underscoring Kyiv’s urgent need for protection.”Partners did provide us with their different (air defense) systems, we appreciate that, but it’s just simply insufficient, given the scale of the war,” Kuleba said.He said Ukraine’s partners had more than 100 Patriot systems at their disposal but had so far not been willing to share even five to seven more – the number that Kyiv says is the minimum needed to provide significant additional protection.”Is it such a big problem? Is it not feasible to provide Ukraine with the minimum request?” Kuleba asked.Russia fired over 3,000 guided aerial bombs, 600 drones and 400 missiles at Ukraine in March alone, said on Wednesday.Kuleba said Russia’s attacks in March involved 94 ballistic missiles, which are much faster than more commonly used cruise missiles, and harder to shoot down.”Come on, guys. I mean … this happens to us every day,” Kuleba said, summarising his message to Ukraine’s allies. “And the solution is there. It’s just an issue of political will. So someone has to make the decision.”Kuleba said it was not clear to him why allies were so far not providing extra Patriots, especially as Kyiv’s partners did not face the missile threat that Ukraine faces every day.He argued that such support would help defeat Russia and prevent a larger .”When I say that Europe will be at war and missiles will be falling on Brussels and other European cities. I’m not exaggerating. All of this is going to happen if Ukraine doesn’t win the war against Russia,” he said.”So the best way to save your Patriots from intercepting missiles (over your countries) and your soldiers from dying is to send your Patriots to Ukraine and give Ukrainian soldiers everything they need.”Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow has no interest in invading other European countries.Kuleba spoke as NATO foreign ministers met to discuss how to put military support to Ukraine on a longer-term footing.Asked about a boss Jens Stoltenberg – which diplomats say includes a plan for a 100 billion euro fund for Ukraine over five years – Kuleba said he welcomed support but it should represent new funds and not repurpose prior commitments.He said NATO had struggled to raise 500 million euros for a Comprehensive Assistance Package to reform and equip Ukraine’s armed forces, so stepping up to 20 billion a year would be a “gargantuan” effort.”If this particular initiative is to become reality, we have to make sure that this will be (a) new 100 billion.”

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