UK and France continue to reinforce Ukraine air defense

The United Kingdom and France will provide Ukraine with new packages of air defense to help the country to withstand Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure. 

On November 19, 2022, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that Ukraine will receive around $59 million (£50 million) worth of defense aid package, which will comprise 125 anti-aircraft guns, dozens of radars, and anti-drone electronic warfare systems. The aid should support the Ukrainian military in countering “deadly Iranian-supplied drones,” the Prime Minister’s Office wrote in a statement. 

“While Ukraine’s armed forces succeed in pushing back Russian forces on the ground, civilians are being brutally bombarded from the air,” the Prime Minister said following a meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. “We are today providing new air defense, including anti-aircraft guns, radar, and anti-drone equipment, and stepping up humanitarian support for the cold, hard winter ahead.”  

In addition to military aid, UK will fund over $14 million (£12 million) for the World Food Programme’s response and an additional $4.7 million (£4 million) for the International Organization for Migration, which should provide Ukraine with mobile health clinics, power generators, shelters and winter kits for troops to withstand the extreme cold. 

Earlier in November 2022, the UK committed to providing more than 1,000 additional surface-to-air missiles to help defend against the Russian threat to Ukrainian infrastructure. 

“This comes in response to Ukrainian requests for more air defense capabilities, and the missiles will play a vital role in the provision of air defense for Ukraine and the protection of its critical infrastructure which is being continually targeted by Russia,” the UK government wrote in a statement

Paris considers Kyiv’s request for radars 

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, France Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu said that French authorities were currently considering the possibility to supply Ukraine with additional radars.  

“We are […] studying a Ukrainian request for radars because upstream detection of strikes is crucial,” Lecornu said. 

France recently delivered two batteries of Crotale mobile air defense systems, which were promised on October 12, 2022, by the French President Emmanual Macron. The Crotale NG can simultaneously track up to 12 targets at a distance of 18 kilometers and engage them within 11 kilometers with one of its eight VT1 missiles. 

Throughout the war, France also supplied Ukraine with Mistral man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).  

The effort to provide Ukraine with sufficient means to defend its airspace accelerated since October 2022, after Russia launched several series of attacks against Ukrainian cities using cruise missiles, mostly Kalibr missiles, and Iranian-made Shahed-136 suicide drones. 

 

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