Slovakia donates its S-300 air defense missile systems to Ukraine


On April 8, the Ministry of Defence officially confirms that the Slovak Republic provided Ukraine with S-300 PMU air defense systems. This comes in reaction to the request of Ukraine for assistance in its exercise of self-defense in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter as a direct consequence of the armed aggression by Russia. The Slovak donation is the first known case of a country sending such a powerful air defense system to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
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One of the S-300 PMU missile launchers donated to Ukraine (Picture source: Slovak MoD)


As Slovak MoD’s release states, this decision represents a responsible reaction of the Slovak Republic that is supporting peace, freedom and protection of human rights. Assistance provided by the Slovak Republic is solely of defensive nature in order to support self-defence capabilities of Ukraine and protection of innocent lives from further aggression by Putin’s regime.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said: “Security of the Slovak Republic and our citizens is our highest priority. That is why we decided to make this decision in the moment, when we have the adequate replacement for the S-300 system, as we had stated before. A fourth battery of the Patriot system, one of the most modern air defence systems, provided by our Allies, will be deployed in Slovakia. Together, the four batteries of the Patriot system will cover the territory of the Slovak Republic. Due to the technical condition, limited options of maintenance and age of the S-300 system, the deployment of the fourth battery of the Patriot system is great news for Slovakia and at the same time a tremendous help for Ukraine.”

Providing the S-300 system to Ukraine does not mean that the Slovak Republic has become a part of the military conflict in Ukraine. Self-defence capabilities of the Slovak Republic are secured and will be strengthened by the fourth battery of the Patriot System that will arrive to Slovakia within the next week and will be deployed on the territory of the Slovak Republic as long as necessary.

For its air defense, Slovakia operates one brigade equipped with two types of missile systems: 2K12 Kub (NATO designation: SA-6 Gainful) and S-300 PMU (NATO designation: SA-10 Grumble). An air defense battery comprises not only missile launchers but also a radar and a command post.

Regarding the replacement of the S-300 with Patriot missiles, Czech Defence Magazine writes, the “White Paper on the Defence of the Slovak Republic” from 2016 already envisaged the modernization of air defence systems. The modernization of air defence is defined in the document as one of the main priorities of armaments, which are to increase the qualitative parameters of the Slovak army in the field of airspace defense and at the same time reduce the dependence of the Slovak army on the techniques of Russian production. The planned modernization was divided into two stages of implementation of strategic projects, i.e. the years 2016-2020 (1st stage) and 2020-2030 (2nd stage).

According to some experts, Czech Defence Magazine writes, the fact that the life cycle of the S-300 system ended in 2020 speaks in favor of purchasing new systems, which is being done with Patriot systems. According to “The Military Balance 2020”, Slovakia, together with Greece and Bulgaria, is the last NATO country to use the S-300 ground air defence system.

It is somehow the same with the 2K12 Kub system, which has not been produced for several decades. On the other hand, the modernization of 2K12 Kub systems, in contrast to the modernization of S-300 systems, can be provided, for example, by the Czech company Retia, which has already implemented the modernization for the Czech Armed Forces.. In addition to Slovakia, 2K12 Kub systems are used, for example, in the Army of the Czech Republic or in the Hungarian Army.


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The Slovak Army currently uses S-300PMU long-range air defence systems and 2K12 Kub 2M short-range systems (Picture source: Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic/CC BY NC-ND)


Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Slovakia and U.S. Allied cooperation in support of Ukraine
APRIL 8, 2022

I salute the generosity of the Slovak government in providing an S-300 air defense system - a critical defensive capability - 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. Of course, the United States will continue to coordinate with our Allies and partners to support the needs of the Ukrainian military and people. We also recognize Slovakia for its extraordinary humanitarian assistance efforts and for hosting thousands of Ukrainian refugees.

At my direction, and at the invitation of Slovakia, U.S. European Command will reposition one Patriot missile system, manned by U.S. service members, to Slovakia. We expect this battery and its crew to arrive in coming days. Their deployment length has not yet been fixed, as we continue to consult with the Slovakian government about more permanent air defense solutions.

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.

Again, I thank the government of Slovakia for their willingness to assist Ukraine in its long-range air defense needs. This is just another example of the strength of our Alliance, and how President Putin's actions have brought about the very strengthening of NATO that he claimed he was trying to prevent. Every step we take is intended to deter aggression and reassure our Allies.

 

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