Protect Ukraine's skies from NATO territory, Germany urges

Patriot air defense system
Patriot air defense system

Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) has begun discussing protecting Ukraine's skies from NATO territory, SPD defense expert Joe Weingarten said in an interview with Spiegel on May 18.

"In the current military situation, I consider it necessary and responsible to deploy German anti-aircraft missile forces on NATO territory on the border with Ukraine to protect the airspace over Western Ukraine, for example, with Patriot systems," SPD defense expert Joe Weingarten said in an interview with Spiegel on May 18.

Read also: Why Poland can't provide Ukraine with Patriot systems yet

A member of the SPD and the Bundestag's Defense Committee, Weingarten stated that Germany should "do everything possible so that Ukraine can resist Russian attacks."

The publication notes that if the Patriot air defense systems, currently located in Rzeszów, Poland, were moved directly to the border with Ukraine, they could make a significant contribution to the defense of Western Ukraine.

Weingarten stressed that there is no need to station Western troops in Ukraine for this. Air defense systems on the border between NATO countries and Ukraine can have an impact far into Ukrainian airspace. Patriot missile systems, for instance, have a range of up to 100 kilometers.

"Ukraine also protects German freedom; we must not give it up now," Weingarten warned. He also noted that the willingness of Ukraine's Western neighbors to cooperate is crucial.

Read also: Zelenskyy-Blinken Kyiv meeting: talks on Patriot supply and Global Summit

However, the leader of the SPD parliamentary faction, Rolf Mützenich, recently expressed opposition to the defense of Ukraine's airspace by NATO forces.

"The desire to protect the airspace of Ukraine by deploying NATO means a departure from the principle that we do not want to actively intervene in the war," Mützenich said, stressing that "the SPD will not agree to this."

This initiative has also met with skepticism among those who call for greater military support for Kyiv.

"I have great doubts as to whether the proposal to place Western air defense systems on the Ukrainian border will find many supporters. Who should they be?" said Michael Roth, chairman of the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the fact that the German initiative to convince partner countries to hand over the Patriot to Kyiv has so far been unsuccessful.

"These systems could specifically save lives in Ukraine. But Europe currently clearly lacks the will or ability to put all its eggs in one basket to stop Russian imperialism," Roth said.

Johann Wadephul, Deputy Leader of the CDU Parliamentary Faction, also called for restraint.

"Any direct intervention in hostilities effectively turns third countries into belligerents... This is out of the question for Germany," Wadephul said.

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Germany's initiative to strengthen air defense in Ukraine

On April 13, the German Ministry of Defense announced that the country would immediately provide Ukraine with an additional Patriot air defense system to repel Russian airstrikes.

On April 17, the German government launched a new initiative to transfer air defense systems to Ukraine.

On April 18, Germany called on the European Union and NATO countries to strengthen Ukraine's air defense. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock appealed to third countries, in addition to the EU and NATO, to consider the initiative at the G7 foreign ministers meeting.

Read also: Romanian DM ‘very unwilling’ to provide Ukraine with Patriot system – country’s PM

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany had secured six more Patriot systems for Ukraine from its NATO partners.

On the same day, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová stated that her country is ready to mediate in the German initiative.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine