Ukrainian strikes increase pressure on Western allies regarding air defense systems

BRUSSELS – A series of strikes against Ukrainian cities and key infrastructure on Monday sparked long-standing calls from the government to its allies for more advanced air defense systems and long-range weapons.

The Russian attacks appeared to indicate a significant escalation, increasing pressure on the United States and other European countries that were reluctant to provide Ukraine with the latest military technology.

In an effort to avoid direct military conflict with Russia, Western allies have been slow to provide Ukrainian forces with the most advanced weapons systems—a trend that has continued even as the Kremlin has repeatedly declared that it is fighting not just with Ukraine, but against the United States and NATO.

Within hours of the strikes, Zelensky made emergency phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz to discuss air defense and other military aid. Zelensky said he will address an emergency meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Tuesday.

Russia strikes Kyiv and cities across Ukraine after attack on Crimea bridge

Amid the rush of diplomacy, Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively made Zelensky’s argument for air defense by threatening additional strikes.

“The best response to Russian missile terrorism is to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems – protect the skies over Ukraine!” Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov chirp Monday. This will protect our cities and our people. This will protect the future of Europe.”

Even before the strikes on Monday, the country’s top officials loudly declared the need to bolster air defenses.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba chirp On Sunday after the Russian attacks on Zaporozhye, “We urgently need more modern air defense and missile defense systems to save innocent lives. I urge partners to speed up deliveries.”

Presidential Adviser Mikhailo Podolak chirp That “instead of talking, we need air defense, MLRS, long-range projectiles,” referring to the multiple launch missile systems.

Prime Minister of Estonia Caja Class in a video message European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that we must “hand over air defenses from the allies so that the Ukrainians can protect their cities and their civilians because Russia is definitely stepping up to harm civilians.”

In Monday’s attack, the Ukrainian military said its air defenses shot down 43 of the 83 missiles fired at it.

Germany’s Defense Ministry said Monday that the first of four IRIS-T air defense systems promised to Ukraine will arrive in the “next few days,” and Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock said Germany is doing “everything it can” to rapidly strengthen Ukraine.

“Kyiv residents are afraid of dying in the morning traffic. impact crater near the stadium,” I tweeted. “It is despicable and unjustifiable for Putin to fire missiles at cities and civilians.”

The scene after the Russian strikes across Ukraine

In a phone call with Zelensky Monday morning, Macron pledged to increase support for Ukraine, including more military equipment, but there are growing questions about how well the French will keep their promises.

Modern arrangement by Kiel Institute for the World Economy He concluded that France spent less on declared arms shipments to Ukraine than smaller European countries such as Estonia and the Czech Republic. Overall, France ranked 11th among the world’s largest suppliers of Ukrainian military aid by August – a “humiliating” result for a country that considers itself the leading military power in the European Union, critics say.

Ukraine is interested in the air defense systems used by the French army, including the SAMP / T. Le Monde reports that one of the reasons for France’s reluctance is that the country has a limited stockpile of necessary batteries.

French government officials have defended the extent of their support, citing “freedom of action” and noting that they have not disclosed all of their supplies. They also argued that their delivery – including 18 CAESAR high-precision howitzers – were major additions to the battlefield. France is in negotiations to transfer the additional Cesar cannon originally requested by Denmark to Ukraine.

But criticism that France has fallen behind smaller allies in helping Ukraine appears to have struck a chord at the Elysee in recent days. As Macron met other European Union leaders in Prague on Friday, he announced the creation of a 100 million euro ($97 million) fund that will allow Ukraine to buy its own military equipment.

This fund is in addition to the approximately $230 million that France has committed for military aid, but it is much less than the amount committed by France. 17 billion dollars That the Biden administration sent Ukraine since February.

The Pentagon said in late September that it would deliver two advanced anti-aircraft systems, called the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, within the next two months — something Ukraine has long requested.

Nowak Avad from France, Maurice from Berlin.

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