Slovakia Hands Over S-300 Missiles System to Ukraine
Bratislava, April 8 (TASR) – Slovakia has provided its S-300 air-defence system to Ukraine, Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) has reported on Twitter and Facebook.
The premier maintained that the provision of the system doesn’t mean that Slovakia has become part of the armed conflict in Ukraine and assured the public that Slovakia’s defence capability remains in place and will be reinforced in the next few days by an additional defence system from its allies.
“This is a responsible decision by which the Slovak Republic, as a country that supports peace, freedom and the protection of human rights, is providing assistance in the form of a purely defensive system to Ukraine and its innocent public, and we believe that this system will help to save as many innocent Ukrainians as possible from further aggression from Putin’s regime,” Heger wrote.
As the premier explained, Slovakia donated the system on the basis of Ukraine’s request for assistance in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter as a direct consequence of armed aggression by Russia.
According to television channel Markiza, it took two days to transport the system to Ukraine.
Previously, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) confirmed Slovakia’s willingness to provide Ukraine with the S-300 system if Slovakia found an adequate replacement for it. He declared that the Government would not take into account any threats from “warmongers from Moscow” when making its decision.
The S-300 air-defence system that Slovakia donated to Ukraine will be replaced by a fourth Patriot battery, which is due to arrive next week and it will be provided by US allies, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) wrote on a social network on Friday. It will join two Patriot batteries from the Germans and one from the Dutch. All the batteries will be gradually deployed so as to cover the whole territory of Slovakia and will be in the country as long as necessary.
“Four batteries of the top Patriot system in the most modern PAC 3 version provide incomparably higher defence potential than one non-modernised S-300 system from 1987. This is a clear strengthening of Slovakia’s defence,” Nad posted on the social network, pointing out the minimum service options and the ending technical life of the S-300.
According to Nad, the donation of the system does not mean that the Slovak Republic has become part of the armed conflict in Ukraine. The minister reiterated that Ukraine has every right to receive such support under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which speaks of assistance in the exercise of self-defence. Nad described the decision as a responsible way for Slovakia to support peace, freedom and the protection of human rights. According to Nad, hundreds of human lives will be saved with the help of defence elements such as the S-300 system.
By donating the S-300 air-defence system to Ukraine, we’re helping to reduce the number of civilian casualties of the tragic conflict, and that must be the focus of everyone at the moment, President Zuzana Caputova stated on Friday, TASR was told by her spokesman Martin Strizinec. “The air-defence system protects cities and municipalities from attacks from the sky – from missiles, air strikes and shelling. If Russia is interested in what we see today in Bucha, Mariupol or Borodianka, it is right that we’ve helped defend Ukraine,” said Caputova.
US President Joe Biden on Friday thanked the Slovak Government for donating the S-300 air-defence system to Ukraine, TASR learnt from a White House statement. “I want to thank the Slovak Government for providing an S-300 air-defence system to Ukraine, something [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy has personally raised with me in our conversations,” Biden said in a statement.
“To enable this transfer and ensure the continued security of Slovakia, the United States will reposition a U.S. Patriot missile system to Slovakia, added Biden.