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NATO begins putting in place its Patriot Air Defense System in Ukraine's neighbor Slovakia: official

Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Sunday that the first parts of NATO's Patriot air defense system began arriving in Slovakia.

According to the defense minister, US-made systems have begun arriving in the Central European country - which shares a 100km (62 mile) border with Ukraine with NATO partner countries, and the deployment will continue in the coming days.

“I can gladly confirm that the first units in charge of the deployment of the Patriot anti-air defense system are gradually coming to the territory of the Slovak Republic,” Nad said in a statement on social media.

German and Dutch troops will operate the NATO Patriot air defense system based at Sliac airport in central Slovakia until the NATO defenses of its members are bolstered amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Both Germany and the Netherlands are to be praised for making the "really responsible alliance decision to agree to our request to strengthen the defence of the Slovak Republic."

Nad said the Patriot system will further bolster the defense of the airspace of the Slovak Republic and will not be a replacement of the Soviet-era S-300 system that Slovakia, which is part of both NATO and the EU, operates.

It has also suggested it may target Western arms supplies and has promised to block the transfer of such air defense systems to Kyiv.

21 March 2022


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