NATO working on more air defences for Ukraine, Stoltenberg says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 18, 2024 | 10:04 AM

By Angelo Amante

CAPRI, Italy (Reuters) – NATO is working to send more air defence systems to Ukraine, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, adding that delays in providing such aid were harming Kyiv’s efforts to resist Russia’s attacks.

“We have compiled data about the different air defence systems we have in NATO and focused on the Patriot systems. And we are working with allies to ensure that they redeploy some of their systems to Ukraine,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy.

“We are working at the possibility of more Patriot batteries to Ukraine. We are in dialogue with some specific countries,” Stoltenberg said, calling supply of the Patriot “critical” as it is the most advanced defence system the alliance can count on.

Stoltenberg said other defence systems might also be provided to Ukraine, including the NASALS surface-to-air missile system.

“Delays in the delivery of air defence mean that more Russian missiles will hit their targets in Ukraine. Delays in delivery of ammunition mean that Russia will be able to push more along the front line,” he added.

Stoltenberg said a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council would take place on Friday and that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was expected to participate virtually.

“I am encouraged by the commitment and the determination by NATO allies to stand up for Ukraine,” he told reporters, adding there were encouraging signs that the U.S. Congress might soon unlock an aid package for Ukraine worth $60.84 billion.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Alvise Armellini and Gareth Jones)