With the West’s appetite to help Ukraine beat back the ongoing Russian invasion waning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky won’t yet get Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems from Greece, but is glad for Greece’s support.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Zelensky to say Greece is on his side after the Ukrainian leader again visited the United States Congress seeking more military aid he didn’t get.
“I spoke with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis by phone. I thanked for the warm wishes for the Ukrainian people and for the defense support in the current year. I was assured of the same level of support in the next one,” Zelensky said of their conversation.
But after initially sending batches of weapons when the invasion began, Greece and the European Union have limited their support, needing Russian energy supplies that were exempted from sanctions.
Greece reportedly expressed its willingness to transfer its Russian-built long-range S-300 air defense missile systems to Ukraine if the United States replaces them with a MIM-104 Patriot, noted Forbes magazine.
“If the United States installs a Patriot system on the island (Crete) and after it is integrated – connected to the national air defense system, then the S-300 can be removed,” Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos told a meeting at the Greek Ministry of Defense. “The same procedure applies to any other Russian made air defense system that they may want to send to Ukraine.”
That has led to Greece holding back sending them to Ukraine, even more so after Russia said under the terms by which Greece obtained them that it must have permission to send them to another country.
There are also fears that Iran could soon supply Russia with hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles, which Ukraine would need advanced systems like the Patriot PAC-3 to shoot down, the report noted.
Ukraine would welcome the addition of Greece’s S-300’s, which Ukrainian forces have experience operating although they are not as advanced as the S-400 system Turkey acquired from Russia which could be used against Greece.
On Dec. 1, Ukrainian Defense Minister Olekssi Reznikov said Ukraine was “currently negotiating with the defense ministers of all countries that have S-300s in service regarding the possibility of replenishing stocks of missiles from their warehouses and arsenals,” the report said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Greece knows it shouldn’t transfer Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems to help Ukraine.
Greece had obtained the S-300’s from Cyprus in a compromise agreement said earlier to have satisfied Russian concerns but that came with an obligation they couldn’t be sent to another country, which Lavrov said Greece has acknowledged, also reported the Eurasian Times.
Russia had its Ambassador meet Greek officials to remind them and Lavrov told Russian’s TV station Channel One that, “They (Greek authorities) said they were mindful of that,” requirement.
Russia’s Foreign Minister spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier said shipment of the S-300 systems to Ukraine would be “a gross violation” of deals on military-technical cooperation and the supply of military goods.
At the time, she had warned that breaching contractual obligations would undoubtedly have consequences, including a deterioration in Greece’s defense capability in the field of air defense.