German chancellor touts difficult decision on Patriot — RT World News


Berlin’s pledge to send another battery to Kiev should encourage more military aid, Olaf Scholz has said

Berlin’s decision to pledge a third Patriot missile system to Kiev was a difficult one and will hopefully move other European nations to donate more arms, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said.

The German leader met his counterparts from the five Nordic nations on Monday at a summit in Stockholm. Speaking at a joint press conference with the prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, Scholz reiterated his vow to “support Ukraine for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.

Kiev has been complaining that the shortage of Western air defense systems leaves its troops and infrastructure exposed to long-range attacks by Russia. President Vladimir Zelensky has said his military needed as many as 25 of the US-made Patriot systems, each of which costs more than $1 billion.

The decision to provide an additional Patriot battery, which was announced in April, “was not that easy, because we don’t have too many of them,” Scholz told journalists. The German example should make other donors more generous, he added, because “in the end we need a lot of munitions, artillery, tanks, and air defenses.”

The Nordic summit is the first in which all participants are also full members of NATO, a fact that host Ulf Kristersson, the Swedish prime minister, hailed in his opening remarks. Sweden and Finland applied to join the US-led military bloc not long after the Ukraine conflict erupted

However, some European NATO members have expressed skepticism about Kiev’s requests for additional Patriot systems. Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said some members of his government were against the idea of sharing such weapons, reacting to remarks by President Klaus Iohannis on Monday. Iohannis said his US counterpart, Joe Biden, brought up the issue during their meeting in Washington and that he personally was “open for discussion” on the Patriots.

As an alternative to further donations, some Western officials have suggested that countries in Eastern Europe could use their Patriot systems to intercept Russian missiles over Western Ukraine. The German government said last Saturday it was against such a proposal because it would amount to direct involvement of NATO members in the conflict.

Moscow cited NATO’s expansion in Europe and its increasing presence in Ukraine as one of the key triggers of the hostilities. Last week, President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap military drill to test Russian tactical nuclear weapons capabilities in response to increasingly belligerent rhetoric by some members of the bloc.

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