Slovakia – With the Russian-Ukrainian war going on for well over a month now, some countries – including Slovakia – are considering delivering heavy Soviet or Russian-made weaponry to Ukraine, a move Moscow says it will not tolerate.
Slovakia considers delivering its S-300 air defence systems to Ukraine
Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on 17 March that he had “discussed
the possibility of deploying or sending S-300 systems to the Ukrainians with the United States, Ukraine, and other allies. (…) We are ready to act as soon as we have a suitable replacement,
he added, because handing over to Kiev “the only strategic air defence system we have in Slovakia” would result in “a security vacuum in NATO”.
The idea is to ensure the defence of Slovak airspace with Patriot missiles which are currently being deployed in Slovakia. Slovakia could then hand over its S-300s to Ukraine, which would make immediate use of them as part of its defence against the Russian invasion.
Russia threatens Slovakia with retaliation
Moscow was swift to react, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a staunch warning to Bratislava. “I would like to remind all countries considering such a move that
Soviet systems and systems manufactured in Russia are placed in these countries in accordance with intergovernmental agreements, and also have a certificate of use that prohibits their sale or shipment to third countries”,
Lavrov stated on the Russian television network RT.
Earlier this month, the Russian government indicated that any arms shipments to Ukraine could be considered a “legitimate target” for the Russian armed forces once on Ukrainian soil.