Ukraine refuses to name the countries leasing air defense systems over the winter

This handout photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, shows the Russian military's short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system Osa firing rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukraine is renting air defense systems to strengthen the protection of its airspace during winter, but the countries providing the service cannot be named, Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on Sunday during a Ukrainian television program.

Hungarian-language Ukrainian news portal reported that Ihnat said, “we already have such a practice. It is obvious that every country is primarily concerned with its own defense. No one will just give us their air defense. Why does it take so long to supply our air defenses, why is it done in bits? Because there are not enough of them in the world to give us.”

The spokesman added that “air defense is particularly important during the heating season. It’s not just about the facilities themselves, but also the ammunition and missiles.”

He stressed that it does not cover countries that have or will lease air defense systems to Ukraine.

“Let’s not say which countries we are talking about. This information is sensitive, and our partners in particular did not want us to name them,” Yuri Ihnat pointed out.

Last month, Ihnat said that due to the donations of various countries, Ukraine has currently the world’s most heterogeneous air defense system, combining Western air defense batteries with legacy Soviet systems like the S-300, Buk-M1 and S-125. Currently, the Russian Air Force is flying relatively few manned aircraft over Ukraine. Instead, the biggest threat is the Iranian Shahed loitering munition drone, which is now also manufactured in Russia.

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