Slovakia sets conditions for the delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Kyiv
A Slovak government source said today that Slovakia is ready to supply Ukraine with its S-300 air defense systems, but has created a suitable alternative as a condition to avoid jeopardizing NATO security.
“We discussed with the United States and Ukraine, as well as with other allies, the possibility of sending all the S-300 systems to the Ukrainians,” said Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad.
“We are ready to do so immediately when we have a suitable alternative,” he added at a joint news conference with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is visiting Bratislava.
The Slovak minister noted that the delivery of the country’s “sole strategic air defense system” would create a “security vacuum within NATO.”
However, “If there is a situation where we have a suitable alternative or we have a file [de defesa] Guaranteed for a period of time, we will be ready to discuss the future of the S-300 systems. ”
The US defense secretary confirmed talks on the subject, though he said he had no announcement to make. “This is a situation that we will continue to work on with all of our allies and it is certainly not just an American problem. It is a NATO problem,” Lloyd Austin stressed.
Also today, Jaroslav Nad acknowledged that Slovakia still relies on Russia to maintain the S-300. The Minister of Defense stressed: “I wonder how it should be maintained, modernized, and spare parts provided when a country capable of doing this is the aggressor and any cooperation with this country is impossible.” “Slovakia must get rid of this dependence on Russia as soon as possible,” he added.
The S-300 surface-to-air missiles are an effective system for protecting strategic sites from aerial bombardment, using long-range missiles capable of flying hundreds of kilometers and stopping cruise missiles as well as warplanes.
Soviet-era air defense systems, owned by three NATO countries – Slovakia, Greece and Bulgaria, could be valuable in stopping Russian air strikes on cities and other targets.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to the S-300 on Wednesday when he addressed the US Congress today.
Zelensky called for such anti-aircraft systems that would allow Ukraine to “close the skies” to Russian warplanes and missiles.
“Writer. Analyst. Avid travel maven. Devoted twitter guru. Unapologetic pop culture expert. General zombie enthusiast.”