By SILVAN SCHOONHOVEN
AMSTERDAM – The Netherlands delivers two Patriot launchers and a number of missiles to Ukraine. Defense Minister Ollongren and Minister Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs announced this on Friday evening after a visit to the ministerial conference at the German base Ramstein, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The Netherlands will also contribute to the training of personnel for the Patriot anti-aircraft guns.
Ukrainian President Zelensky has urgently asked the West for air defenses because of the many Russian attacks with missiles and drones. In Dnipro, a flat was hit on Saturday, killing at least 40 civilians.
Prime Minister Rutte already announced this week in a conversation with US President Biden that the Netherlands would contribute in the field of Patriots, but it was unclear what that would look like. There was criticism of giving away Patriot systems, because they are needed in an emergency to defend locations in the Netherlands, such as the port of Rotterdam.
Ollongren admits Patriots supply is at odds with home supply. “Patriots are scarce, the Netherlands is one of the few countries with that capacity. We think it is very important that Ukraine can defend itself, also against ballistic missiles. We still have Patriots that we can use for our NATO tasks.”
In making this decision, the Netherlands weighed up the balance between collective defense of Dutch and allied interests and supporting Ukraine, the two ministers write to the House. Given the current circumstances, the delivery fits within this consideration, because the need for effective air defense in Ukraine is great.”
The Netherlands has four full Patriot systems. The deliveries do have serious consequences for the readiness of the system in the Netherlands, but that is temporary, the ministers say. “That is why it has been assessed as acceptable by the Ministry of Defense.” The remaining Dutch Patriot systems will be brought back up to strength as soon as possible. The Netherlands has made agreements with the US to get replacement parts faster.
Our country will help even more in defending Ukrainian airspace, it was decided in Ramstein. Together with the Czech Republic, we are supplying 100 vehicles with anti-aircraft guns. The Netherlands is looking at the supply of tanks with Germany.