Ukraine Left Out: Greece, Turkey Won’t Part With Russian Missile Defenses

ATHENS – Ukraine won’t be getting any Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems from Greece to use against the ongoing Russian invasion – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said they are essential – and Turkey won’t send any either.

Turkey also has refused to go along with European Union sanctions against Russia for the invasion and had bought Russian S-400 missile defenses that undermine the security of NATO and could be used against Greece.

Both Greece and Turkey said they won’t transfer their strategic Russian-built air defense missile systems to Ukraine or any other country – Greece would need permission from Russia to do so.

The European Union had been squeezing Greece and Spain to send them to Ukraine which is trying to counter Russian attacks but both have said they won’t and Turkey isn’t in the EU despite beginning the accession process in 2005.

“Greece is not going to send S-300 or Patriot to Ukraine,” Mitsotakis told Greek TV, also referring to American-made missile defense systems, as he had said Greece can’t weaken its own security although Turkish provocations have abated.

In a review of the situation, Forbes magazine noted that his comments came after Greek media had said he might consider transferring the systems to Ukraine after Greece initially supplied weapons but has backed off doing so.


The Greek reports had said he was mulling supplying Ukraine with its S-300PMU-1 if it could secure a supply of American MIM-104 Patriot in its place. While the S-300 is an old system, Greece’s variant could bolster Ukraine’s air defenses.

But with Greece and Turkey in a detente, he quickly backed off after Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler said Turkey wouldn’t be sending any of its more modern S-400’s to Ukraine – which Russia wouldn’t allow anyway.

Greece’s S-300s were initially meant for Cyprus but were transferred to Crete in the late 1990s after Turkey threatened to destroy the system if it arrived in Nicosia, triggering a tense crisis. Greece put them in storage and test-fired them in 2013.

In January, U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said Turkey might get the F-35s if it didn’t deploy the Russian S-400 system but Defense Minister Hakan Fidan dismissed the idea out of hand.

The US warned Turkey against using the S-400 and said the only to resolve the issue was to remove the system, the magazine’s correspondent Paul Iddon reported, although the system has been in limbo for five years.

Turkey said that Greece hasn’t been sanctioned for having the Russian S-300 system but the US said that’s because those were obtained before the US’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA.

Recent Turkish media reports claimed the S-400 systems would be deployed on its border with Iraq ahead of a planned summer offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, group, which would be its first use, testing American resolve.

Greece has an estimated 175 missiles for its 32 launchers. Turkey acquired more 120 long-range missiles with its two S-400 battalions and hasn’t been penalized by NATO either – instead being praised as being a valuable ally after buying defenses from an enemy.


ATHENS - A rapprochement of sorts that has seen tensions dialed down between them doesn’t mean Greece isn’t still wary of Greece, said Defense Minister Nikos Dendias, saying there is still an “existential threat” despite warmer ties.

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