Ukraine is grateful to the West for deploying new anti-air missile systems, but they are insufficient, and “much more” is required.
According to Air Forces spokesman Yurii Ihnat, new air-defense weaponry systems handed to Ukraine by Western nations are now deployed and “on combat duty,” and he used the statement to reflect on the arrival of new equipment while simultaneously calling for more. The remarks came after new Russian airstrikes harmed at least 34 people.
Speaking on Ukrainian television, Colonel Ihnat said: “Believe me, all the Western weapons that are available now, to one degree or another, are working for our victory… But they are not enough. We understand that saying that IRIS-T and Patriot are in Ukraine is quite good news for us, but we still need much more of them.”
According to the Ukrainian government’s own news source, the Colonel went on to say that Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and that the air defence systems they now have do not cover enough sky to completely protect the country.
Ukraine’s air defence systems are on the verge of being completely depleted in the next two weeks due to simply running out of the hard-to-replace Russian-made ex-Soviet missiles they utilise.
This knowledge coming into the public domain, as well as the possible repercussions of Russia being able to hit the Ukrainian interior without risk of being intercepted, fueled calls for more Western materiel aid.
Beyond missile systems, one of the recurring key demands of Colonel Ihnat, made over many months, is for Ukraine to be given F-16 fighters.
In early April, he said “This kind of aircraft would solve many of our issues in protecting the airspace, and it is available in sufficient numbers to make a difference”, weeks later he followed up, saying: “The only way is with systems like the Patriot [or] modern fighter jets like the F-16. That is why we are begging our allies to give us them now.”