German foreign minister calls air defense systems a priority for Ukraine, not tanks

16 October 2022, 10:42 PM
Annalena Baerbock (Photo:Kaminski/Agencja via REUTERS)

Annalena Baerbock (Photo:Kaminski/Agencja via REUTERS)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called strengthening Ukraine's air defense a top issue, with the supply of tanks a secondary question, she said in an interview with German television channel Phoenix.

She said her position was backed up by the Russian mass air and missile strikes carried out against Ukraine on Oct. 10. About half of the missiles were intercepted by air defense, "partly thanks to the weapons from Germany," she said.

Further support with air defense systems will continue, Baerbock added.

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"Tanks, as you've mentioned, are sent through other countries as part of the so-called chain swap. Ukraine desperately needs them. Moreover, as Ukrainian troops advanced further into the eastern direction, a great number of Russian vehicles have been taken over and are now being used. So, the issue of tanks is not as urgent at the moment as the issue of air defense is," the German Foreign Minister said.

Ukraine's air defenses were given top priority at the Ramstein-format meeting of Ukraine’s allied on Oct. 12. Last week, Ukraine received the first of four German IRIS-T air defense systems that Berlin had promised to supply.

The other three systems are to be delivered only next year, however.

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