EU Leaders Trying To Convince Greece & Spain To 'Sacrifice' Their Own Anti-Air Defenses For Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 - 06:45 AM

NATO and European Union leaders are literally pressuring member states to sacrifice their own national defense for the sake of Ukraine, part of the ongoing saga of desperation which has led some Western nations to deplete domestic arms and ammo stockpiles.

A disturbing report by Financial Times published Monday says Greece and Spain are under intensifying pressure from Western allies to give up what few Patriot anti-air defense systems that they possess.

Image via Greek City Times

Russia has continued to decimate Ukraine's energy, logistics, and communications infrastructure via superior airpower - and Kiev has had few options, limiting its response. President Putin has said the stepped-up air attacks are in direct retaliation to Ukraine's own cross-border drone attacks on Russian oil facilities. Drones have also frequently been sent over Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky issued an urgent appeal Sunday on X, writing that "Patriots can only be called air defense systems if they work and save lives rather than standing immobile somewhere in storage bases."

Commenting on Ukraine's ongoing pleading, one Western official was cited in FT as saying, "We all know who has them, we all know where they are, and we all know who really needs them."

Only Germany has so far answered the call by lately providing a single Patriot battery. FT reported on back-to-back meetings of EU foreign and defense ministers of the last days, where it's been decided that Greece and Spain's anti-air systems aren't really crucial to their homeland defense:

Other EU leaders used a summit in Brussels last week to personally urge Spanish and Greek prime ministers Pedro Sánchez and Kyriakos Mitsotakis to donate some of their systems to Ukraine, according to people briefed on the discussions.

The two leaders, whose armed forces possess between them more than a dozen Patriot systems plus others such as S-300s, were told their need was not as great as Ukraine’s and that they did not face any imminent threat.

An EU diplomat said, "There are countries that are not in immediate need of their air defense systems, to be very honest." This as "Each country is being asked to decide what it can spare," according to the statement. Countries like Poland or those in the Baltics and Eastern Europe are considered too vulnerable at this moment to be asked to give up their defenses.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is also ramping up the pressure, saying "I don’t have Patriots in Brussels, they are in the capitals, and it is up to them to take decisions."

So this is what it has come to: first European populations are dubiously told that Putin is eyeing expansion of the war deeper into Europe, and next Western countries are told to make drastic decisions which severely weaken their own national security

Greece in particular has faced long-running threats from Turkey, with the geopolitical rivals locked in a dispute over maritime territory which has at times very nearly resulted in a shooting war. This has happened on several occasions in the last couple of years. So certainly the Greek population is going to balk when EU leaders in faraway capitals lecture Greece about 'not really needing' anti-air protection. And if they are sent to Ukraine, there's a chance they could be destroyed anyway.