The U.S., NATO, and the European Union have focused particularly on providing Kyiv with adequate air defense capabilities to help defend against the salvos of ballistic and cruise missiles and suicide drones the Russian military has been launching against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.
Bolstering Ukraine Air Defenses
Ukraine’s Western partners met in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss additional security assistance to Kyiv. In total, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group announced military assistance focused on air defense worth more than $3 billion.
Norway and Germany announced multi-year security aid packages, while Denmark committed to a $2.6 billion military assistance program for next year. Canada is sending more than 200 air defense munitions worth $500 million.
In addition, the United Kingdom will also be sending more air defense weapon systems worth more than $110 million. The package will include air defense radars and guns, and ammunition to take out suicide drones.
Sweden, Iceland, Lithuania, and the Netherlands are also contributing funds for the purchase of security aid for Ukraine.
The U.S. continues to be the leading supporter of Ukraine. Indeed, the U.S. alone has committed the following air defense systems to Ukraine: one MIM-104 Patriot battery, eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), several MIM-23 HAWK medium-range air defense weapons, more than 1,700 FIM-92 Stinger shouldered-fired anti-aircraft missiles, and several AN/TWQ-1 Avenger short-range air defense systems.
Germany has sent an additional MIM-104 Patriot battery and several IRIS-T air defense weapons. And Norway has sent two NASAMS batteries.
“We remain laser-focused on meeting Ukraine’s urgent needs for ground-based air defense systems, and that’s especially important since Russia has ruthlessly ramped up its missile and drone attacks over the past month against Ukraine’s cities, and these attacks have killed scores of Ukrainian civilians, and that’s just part of Moscow’s reckless and lawless attempt to break the will of the Ukrainian people,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.
A Long-term Commitment
The focus right now might be on the progress of the Ukrainian forces on the ground, but Kyiv’s Western partners are looking after the long-term security needs of the country. Ukraine, after all, aims to return to normalcy in the future with a strong economy.
The better armed the Ukrainian military is with modern weapon systems, the bigger its deterrence will be in the future. With the Russian military’s proven inability to be dangerous on the ground, the only credible threat to Ukraine right now comes from the air. Russia’s ballistic and cruise missiles and suicide drones have wreaked havoc on Ukraine. Over the past 17 months, Moscow has launched close to 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles and hundreds of suicide drones against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure, killing and wounding hundreds and causing damages worth tens of billions of dollars.
With a strong air defense capability, Ukraine will be able to defend its cities and economy and move to the future.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy, Cybersecurity, and Intelligence at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.