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Slovakia to Supply S-300 Air Defense System to Ukraine

April 8, 2022 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III put out a statement of gratitude for Slovakia's assistance to embattled Ukraine.  

A soldier holds a bottle under an aircraft.
Fuel Sample
U.S. Army Spc. Ali Nasser, an Apache helicopter repairer assigned to Alpha Company, 1-3rd Attack Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, takes a fuel sample from an AH-64D Apache helicopter during a pre-flight check at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, April 3, 2022.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Preston Malizia
VIRIN: 220403-A-FH795-474

He applauded the Slovak government's decision to supply an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine.  

"It's a strong testament to how determined Ukraine's neighbors are to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russia's unprovoked invasion of their homeland," he said. "We also recognize Slovakia for its extraordinary humanitarian assistance efforts and for hosting thousands of Ukrainian refugees."   

In return for their efforts, the U.S. European Command will reposition one Patriot missile system, manned by U.S. service members, to Slovakia, the secretary said, adding that he expects this battery and its crew to arrive in the coming days.    

The length of their deployment has not yet been fixed, as the Defense Department continues to consult with the Slovak government about more permanent air defense solutions, Austin noted.  

Helicopters sit on a flightline.
Flight Line
AH-64E Apache attack helicopters assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry are at a refueling point in Milroslawiec, Poland, April 4, 2022.
Photo By: Army Spc. Hedil Hernández, Army National Guard
VIRIN: 220404-Z-XV469-1022

"This deployment of Patriot capabilities to Slovakia aligns perfectly with our previous efforts to bolster NATO's defensive capabilities and to demonstrate our collective security requirements under Article 5 of the NATO treaty. It complements the NATO multinational battlegroup in eastern Slovakia, which includes air defense elements from Germany and the Netherlands, he said.  

The United States will continue to coordinate with allies and partners to support the needs of the Ukrainian military and people, he added.  

Also today, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby held a briefing for the news media.  

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Kirby said the S-300 air defense system that Slovakia is supplying to Ukraine and a Patriot missile system the U.S. is supplying are part and parcel of the larger effort by DOD and allies to bolster NATO's eastern flank and improve deterrence, as well as bolstering Ukraine's defensive capabilities.  

The war in Ukraine now enters a new phase, with a stronger focus by the Russians on the Donbas region in the eastern part of that country, Kirby said.  

The Ukrainians continue to say that one of their most valuable commodities is small arms ammunition. "We and other nations continue to provide literally millions of rounds," he said.  

Soldiers pose for a photo on a beach.
Group Photo
Estonian and U.S. Army soldiers pose with the U.S. Army’s new Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense Stryker under the Estonian and U.S. flags after successful live-fire training on the Gulf of Finland during Exercise Saber Strike 22 on March 10, 2022.
Photo By: Army Maj. Robert Fellingham
VIRIN: 220310-A-KM584-387

Kirby has said in the past that several other effective defensive weapons have also been provided to Ukraine by the U.S., including Stinger and Javelin missiles.   

Also, intelligence sharing and communications between U.S. defense and other government officials — including President Joe Biden — and those of Ukrainian officials have been ongoing daily.