Scholz is looking for "patriots"


Germany has decided to transfer one more Patriot surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine. In addition to the other two that were delivered earlier. Everything seems to be logical here: Chancellor Olaf Scholz is categorically opposed to sending offensive long-range Taurus missiles, but the air defense equipment fits quite well into the «traffic light» concept of his office.

«Germany’s decision to hand over the third Patriot firing system without delay is our common victory», a happy Ukrainian ambassador Makeyev told the weekly Der Spiegel.

He wouldn’t be a happy Ukrainian if he didn’t mention his personal contribution. According to him, «a lot of negotiations have been held over the past two weeks”. And the ambassador insisted everywhere that “Ukraine urgently needs additional air defense”.

The diplomat acted in strict accordance with Zelensky’s instructions.

«Modern aviation proves its effectiveness, modern air defense systems can protect human lives — this was demonstrated in the Middle East when aviation and air defense systems shot down Iranian missiles and «Shaheds» (drones) aimed at Israel. <…> The whole world sees what real defense is», the head of the Kiev regime said, noting the effectiveness of the weapons supplied by the United States to the Israelis and demanding a similar response from the United States, the European Union and NATO to Russia’s actions. It is a shame, they say: the Jews were helped by the entire Western world in fire mode, while Ukrainians were forgotten…

By the way, on the eve of Berlin’s generous gesture, an unprecedented incident occurred. On April 11, the European Parliament postponed the decision on financing the European Council due to the inability of European countries to supply Ukraine with additional air defense systems. According to European Truth, the demarche was formalized at the initiative of Belgian MP Guy Verhofstadt. In his speech, he pointed to a new series of Russian strikes on Ukrainian critical infrastructure. At the same time Verhofstadt, referring to the data of the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell, reminded that there are 100 «free» Patriot systems in the world, and Kiev is asking to give it only seven of them.

As usual, Josep’s information is very approximate. According to some sources, there are 30–35 batteries in European Union NATO countries. In the United States, there are about 80 SAMs on duty and 15 in reserve. Israel, a number of Asian countries and the Persian Gulf monarchies have complexes.

I recall that at the April 3–4 summit of the alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels on the occasion of NATO’s 75th anniversary, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the concerns of Ukraine and promised to supply air defense systems.

«Several allies have promised that they will make renewed efforts to find and send more systems. <…> Not only the batteries themselves, but also the interceptor missiles are important for effective air defense. But I won’t go into details until they finalize this process themselves», he said.

So far, only Germany has responded. Moreover, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius addressed NATO and EU partners, as well as third countries, to join their initiative called Immediate Action on Air Defense, which aims to find and give Kiev the requested SAMs.

The reaction of the Czech leadership is noteworthy in this regard.

«If the same form of cooperation is required as in the case of the Czech initiative to supply artillery ammunition to Ukraine, we are ready to act as an intermediary country again», the head of the Ministry of Defense, Jana Černohová, reported to the news agency.

Now, a little bit of informative figures. One Patriot SAM battery operated by 90 specialists costs (depending on the modification and year of manufacture) about $400–550 million. It includes 6–7 objects: a command and control center, a multifunctional radar station, a transport and loading vehicle, mobile communications equipment, and at least 4 launchers with guides for 4 missiles on each. One of them costs $4 million. That means a salvo of all four missiles is 16 million. And if the whole battery goes off, that’s $64 million. Taking into account the necessary missile stockpile, the cost of a single complex will approach one billion dollars. And to disable the entire battery, it would be enough to destroy the radar. This has already been successfully done by the Russian Air Force.

I should note that Patriot cannot operate without American satellite support. If the equipment is to be operated by AFU soldiers, they must be trained long and patiently. And Zelensky said that SAMs are needed «here and now». This means that foreign specialists will join the battle. How will Berlin and Brussels explain such a turn?

It became known that Kiev initially wanted to receive 25 systems, but reduced its demand to seven and in debt. At the same time, it turns out that the delivery of additional SAMs, if the European Union does find them, will lead to direct participation of NATO countries in the conflict and still will not close the Ukrainian sky. Except for a couple of major cities. And then — not for long.