US president Joe Biden announced that Washington will send a Patriot missile system to Slovakia after Bratislava agreed to send a Soviet-era S-300 air-defense system to Ukraine.
“To enable this transfer and ensure the continued security of Slovakia, the United States will reposition a U.S. Patriot missile system to Slovakia,” Biden said. “Now is no time for complacency. … As the Russian military repositions for the next phase of this war, I have directed my Administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide to the Ukrainian military the advanced weapons capabilities it needs to defend its country.”
Biden noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had personally requested that such a deal be made to help Ukraine acquire much-needed air defense systems.
Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad confirmed the move. He had previously said his country was willing to provide its S-300 to Ukraine if it received a replacement system.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger Tweeted, “Ukrainian nation is bravely defending its sovereign country and us too. It is our duty to help, not to stay put and be ignorant to the loss of human lives under Russia’s aggression.”
The air defense system is effective against military aircraft and short-range ballistic missiles, like the Tochka-U system that Russian forces used to attack a train station in Kramatorsk on Friday.
Ukraine is believed to have had around 100 active batteries of the S-300 with as many as 300 launchers when Russia invaded on February 24th.
Bulgaria and Greece also have S-300 systems.
The announcement came after the Czech Republic announced it had sent Soviet-era T-72M tanks to Ukraine.