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France makes military request to Greece – media

Paris is reportedly seeking to use the Greek Crotale air defense system during the summer Olympics

The French government has made an official request to borrow an air defense system from Greece for the duration of the Paris Olympics, Greek daily Kathimerini has reported, citing well-informed sources.

France has been calling on its international allies to help enhance security for the summer games, which will run from July 26 to August 11. Around 45,000 French police and gendarmes, 18,000 troops, and up to 22,000 private security guards are expected to work at the event.

A request for the transfer of a Crotale short-range surface-to-air missile system from the Greek Air Force has been submitted, Kathimerini reported on Thursday. Diplomatic talks for the transfer began last November, the newspaper said, with no developments until now.

The Crotale system is French-built and has been used by the Greek Air Force since 2003. It has a firing range of 11-20 kilometers and a maximum engagement altitude of 6km, which Kathimerini said was “ideal” for France’s needs.

According to the outlet’s sources, France has been insisting that while it intends to provide anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, it needs allied assistance to ensure the defense of critical infrastructure in Paris during the Olympics.

The French request to Greece is “clearly yet another very indirect suggestion to Athens to ‘unlock’ part of its anti-aircraft defense, in the general European effort to strengthen Kiev,” Kathimerini wrote.

EU governments have been under growing pressure to supply more protective systems to Kiev, particularly countries such as Greece and Spain that have such systems in their arsenals.

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File photo: French soldiers patrol the streets as part of the counter-terrorist Vigipirate plan, France, 2019
France wants foreign troops to reinforce Olympics security – media

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said late on Thursday that the country cannot offer its air defense systems – which include Patriots and the S-300 – to Ukraine. “We were asked and we explained why we cannot do it,” Mitsotakis told Skai TV, adding that these systems are “critical to our deterrent capability.”

“We have already provided tangible assistance to Ukraine and its people,” he added, saying that no action would be taken “that could even remotely endanger our nation’s deterrent capabilities or air defense.”

According to a report by the Financial Times, European leaders during a summit in Brussels last week personally urged Mitsotakis and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to supply air defense systems to Ukraine.

The US is expected to put further pressure on Greece on Friday during a planned teleconference on assistance to Ukraine.

April 26, 2024 at 08:35PM
RT

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