Slovakia gives S-300 air defence system to Ukraine; US to deploy Patriot missile system in Bratislava in return


Slovak prime minister Eduard Heger on Friday said the EU member had given Ukraine an S-300 air defence system, adding that it did not mean Slovakia had joined the conflict with Russia.

"I can confirm that the Slovak Republic has donated the S-300 air defence system to Ukraine, following Ukraine's request for assistance," Heger posted on Twitter. "The donation of the system does not mean that the Slovak Republic has become a part of the armed conflict in Ukraine."

He added that Slovakia was providing the defence system "to Ukraine and its innocent citizens, believing that this system will help save the lives of as many innocent Ukrainians as possible."

Only a few hours later US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced, "The US will deploy a Patriot missile system to Slovakia, a NATO member state in Central Europe that borders the western tip of Ukraine."

US European Command will reposition the system, which can shoot down incoming missiles and will be manned by US troops, Austin said in a statement. Both the system and its crew are expected to arrive in the coming days, and the length of the deployment has not yet been determined.

The two moves come after Bratislava had said last month that it would provide the Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system to Ukraine only on the condition that it receive a substitute to avoid a NATO security gap.

Echoing Austin, Slovak defence minister Jaroslav Nad on Friday said the "obsolete" air defence system would be substituted by Patriot batteries in "a clear strengthening of Slovakia's defence".

"The fourth Patriot system battery will arrive in Slovakia next week. Two were provided by the Germans and one by the Dutch, the fourth by our American allies," he said on Facebook.

"We have delivered the obsolete S-300 system safely to Ukraine."


US President Joe Biden has thanked Slovakia for giving Ukraine a Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft air defense system, adding the United States would reposition a Patriot missile system to replace it.

"I want to thank the Slovakian government for providing an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, something President Zelensky has personally raised with me in our conversations," Biden said in a statement.

"The United States has placed the highest priority on delivering critical military capabilities to Ukraine so it can defend itself against Russian aggression."

Last month the US had sent two Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries to Poland to defend against any "potential threat" to US or NATO forces in the alliance's territory, as the war in Ukraine continued.

With input from agencies

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Slovakia gives S-300 air defence system to Ukraine; US to deploy Patriot missile system in Bratislava in return
Slovakia gives S-300 air defence system to Ukraine; US to deploy Patriot missile system in Bratislava in return
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