Ukraine runs out of air defense missiles giving Russia a ‘free pass’ to Kyiv, warns Bild security analyst

FILE - Smoke rises from an air defense base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

Ukraine has run out of missiles for use in Western air defense systems, and nearly all stock for other air defense means has either been depleted or destroyed, the senior editor for security policy at Germany’s best-selling newspaper has warned.

Bild analyst Julian Röpcke took to X on Thursday to claim that Kyiv no longer has access to Patriot and IRIS-T missiles to operate its ground-to-air defense systems and repel Russian attacks.

“This, while we have hundreds of systems and thousands of missiles in our depots. No words. Just anger,” the German journalist wrote.

“Kyiv’s airspace is a free pass for [Russian fighter jets] now,” Röpcke added, claiming that Ukrainian troops had been running on empty regarding ammunition stocks for some time and the remaining arsenal had surely now run dry.

“A source told me the alleged exact current number [of remaining missiles] two weeks ago. I won’t reveal it, of course. But the number was so small, it must be close to nothing now,” he wrote.

Ukraine’s limited ability to defend itself was taken full advantage of by Russian forces on Thursday as more than 40 attack drones and missiles rained down on key infrastructure in major cities including Kharkiv, Lviv, Kyiv, and Odesa.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, ground troops were unable to shoot down all cruise missiles while none of the six Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles launched by Russia were intercepted.

Zelensky had warned last week of the need for greater provisions from allies, calling on NATO members to help with further military support.

“Kharkiv needs a robust defense. There is a solution to Russia’s constant terror: We need additional air defense systems and missiles,” he said on Ukrainian television.

“The world has no right to remain indifferent while Russia deliberately destroys the city on a daily basis and murders people in their homes. Ukraine needs greater air defense.”

Ukraine’s depleting stock comes at a time when U.S. lawmakers have turned lukewarm to the idea of further support, with Republicans holding up another military aid package worth $60 billion in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, General Christopher Cavoli, U.S. commander of European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that Ukraine would soon run out of air defense interceptors without further U.S. support.

“If one side can shoot and the other side can’t shoot back, the side that can’t shoot back loses. So the stakes are very high,” Cavoli said.

“They’re really dependent this year on us. Without our support, they will not be able to prevail,” he added.

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