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Kiev to ask West for anti-air missiles – FT

Ukraine’s backers will meet in Germany on Friday to discuss further military aid

Ukraine will ask its Western backers to provide it with more surface-to-air missiles, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing three people familiar with the matter. According to the outlet, it will happen during a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany this week, as Kiev prepares an anticipated counteroffensive against Russian troops.

“Short-range air defense has been a topic that has been raised increasingly by the Ukrainians,” a European official was quoted as saying. “If they use them all up, it opens the space up for air forces.”

According to FT, a Pentagon document from late February that was leaked online in the spring assessed that Kiev’s ability to protect its forces from aerial attacks would be “completely reduced” by May 23. The leaked files reportedly specified that Ukraine might run out of ammunition for “five critical air defense systems.”

NATO members have received intelligence that Russia is amassing warplanes and attack helicopters along the frontline with Ukraine, FT added.

The US will host a summit of nations that are supplying Kiev with weapons on Friday. Ukrainian officials have said previously that the success and timing of any major advance against Russian forces will heavily depend on deliveries of equipment from the West.

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Ukraine shells Donetsk during Easter service

The West has been sending Ukraine various air defense platforms, including shoulder-fired Stringer missiles. Germany announced this week that a more advanced US-made Patriot system had been delivered to Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Western arms to target civilians. On Sunday, Ukrainian troops shelled Donetsk, with some projectiles landing outside a church as worshippers were celebrating Orthodox Easter, according to local officials. At least one person was killed in the attack and six were injured.

Moscow stepped up strikes in Ukraine last year in response to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge and other attacks on Russian soil. Russia maintains that its forces only target military and military-linked objectives.

April 19, 2023 at 05:15PM

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