The Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic discuss at NATO mobilization of European air defense systems for Ukraine

At NATO headquarters a meeting was held between the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Denmark and the Czech Republic with the secretary general of the alliance, at which the issue of mobilizing air defense assets from European countries to Ukraine was discussed.

The heads of government of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Denmark Mette Frederisken, the Czech Republic Petr Fiala and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced this on Wednesday in Brussels at a joint press conference.

Thus, Frederiksen stated that in recent weeks "the Russians are intensifying their bombing on Ukrainian cities, critical infrastructure energy systems and the population." "I guess and I hope that in all of Europe we have heard Zelenskyy's call for more air defense. It is crucial they (Ukrainians) have to be able to protect their soldiers, citizens, infrastructure, and therefore they simply need more air defense. The important question is now that all of us have to put on the table and ask ourselves are we would be better off sending a few of our own air defense systems to Ukraine at a time when they, not we, are daily struggling never ending Russian attacks. We know that we have systems in Europe, and some of them now need to be delivered into Ukraine, and I think the answer to this question is, of course, yes," she said.

The Prime Minister of Denmark said this issue was the reason for the meeting, which took place at NATO headquarters. "That's why we're gathered here today. With this message, I hope that we will have time during the Council meeting [European Council, which will be held in Brussels on April 17-18] we will have a very concrete discussion on how to ensure the supply of more air defense systems to Ukraine," Frederiksen said.

Her words were confirmed by Dutch Prime Minister Rutte: "Our message today is that Ukraine needs stronger air defense."

He recalled that a few weeks ago he visited Kharkiv and saw how "the city has been suffering greatly under the constant onslaught of Russian airstrikes, and since then those attacks have only increased intensity." "So we must keep on helping Ukraine to defend itself, and it cannot do so without the necessary Western support. On this particular issue of air defense we see three tracks. One is to produce more ourselves for the medium term, (the second) looking what else we can deliver to Ukraine from our own stocks and (the third) to purchase what is available around the world. More air defense capabilities are needed, and they are needed fast," Rutte detailed.

In this regard, he said "I am very happy that together with my colleague from Denmark and the Czech Republic and we spoke with you, Jens, about how the alliance can support Ukraine more effectively." "We are already working together with Denmark and the Czech Republic on supplying artillery shells, and now we need to look what we can do more. We need to take another critical look at our stocks to determine the scope for supplying more to Ukraine," the Dutch Prime Minister said.

At the same time, Rutte assured that the allies will "do what is necessary to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and as intensively as is needed, that includes efforts within NATO." "We must ensure Ukraine can defend itself against Russian aggression, at the same time we must work to foster the Ukrainian army that can counter the Russian threat in the future and operate in accordance with NATO standards. In this way, we will build an even stronger bridge between Ukraine and NATO, because, as we have said before, Ukraine's future and its rightful place is within NATO. But, again, message of today: Ukraine needs stronger air defense, and we keep working on this together," he is convinced.