Germany urges NATO allies to contribute more Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on other NATO members to contribute air defenses to Kiev

Members of NATO should find more US-made Patriot air defense systems for Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday in Brussels. Berlin has promised to deliver one such system in the near future, in addition to the two it had already sent to Kiev. 

Scholz said that he sought to promote the idea during “many discussions” at the EU summit held on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We heard that there should now be seven more, one of them is ours and then we hope that six more will be found” by other NATO members, the German chancellor said. 

Berlin has so far made the “greatest contribution” when it comes to providing Ukraine with Patriot systems, Scholz claimed, adding that he called on others to “make the same decisions.” The US, Germany, and the Netherlands have sent several Patriot launchers to Ukraine in support of its conflict with Russia. 

The exact number of those air defense systems in Ukraine’s possession remains unclear. According to Business Insider, Kiev might have between three and five Patriots. The Russian Defense Ministry has provided evidence that several of the launchers and radars have already been destroyed.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte took on a harsher tone toward the nations reluctant to scour their stockpiles for missiles to give Kiev.

“We know that many countries are sitting on large piles of Patriot systems, maybe not wanting to deliver it directly,” he said on Thursday, without naming any names. He offered to buy such systems from any third country and send them to Ukraine.

“We have the money available. It’s crucial,” Rutte added. 

Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are the few European NATO members that still have Patriot systems in their arsenals, according to the outlet Der Spiegel. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has admitted that Berlin’s stockpiles are “pretty much exhausted” when it comes to the US-made air defense systems, adding that the West would have to scour the world if it wanted to get some more of them for Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the US-led bloc was working on sending more air defense systems to Kiev, including Patriots in particular. 

“We have compiled data about the different air defense systems we have in NATO, focused on the Patriot systems. And we are working with Allies to ensure that they redeploy some of their systems to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said during the meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy. 

Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said he needed 25 Patriot systems, with between six and eight batteries each, to ensure adequate air defense on a nationwide scale.