Ukraine has suffered nearly 10,000 missiles and guided bombs since the beginning of the year
Guided glide bombs hung under the wings of Russian Su-34 fighters before the sortie on March 29. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Mr. Zelensky said Russia has launched nearly 10,000 missiles and guided bombs into Ukraine in the past few months, calling on NATO to provide more Patriot systems.

“I will get straight to the point, which is that we need at least seven more Patriot air defense complexes or similar systems. They can protect many lives and really change the situation,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised speech at the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting on April 19.

President Zelensky said Russia has deployed nearly 1,200 missiles of all types, more than 8,500 guided glide bombs and 1,500 suicide drones (UAVs) to attack Ukraine since the beginning of the year. He described the current level of aid to Ukraine as “very limited”, mentioning that Israel was not alone in its efforts to block Iran’s airstrike with more than 300 missiles and UAVs on the night of April 13.

“It is necessary to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin and restore safety in our skies. It depends entirely on your choice; you will decide whether we are truly allies or not “, Mr. Zelensky added.

The NATO-Ukraine Council meeting was held behind closed doors, but the Office of the President of Ukraine announced the content of Mr. Zelensky’s speech.

After the event, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that alliance member countries had agreed to provide additional air defense system aid to Ukraine. “In addition to Patriot missiles, we can provide a number of other complexes such as France’s SAMP/T. Countries that do not have weapons available have pledged to provide financial aid to buy weapons for Ukraine,” he said.

However, NATO officials did not say whether defense ministers from member countries had made firm commitments during the meeting or not. “NATO has outlined the systems available in the alliance, some of which can be transferred. An announcement of aid for air defense weapons to Kyiv may be announced in the near future,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine is asking the West for more aid for the Patriot system when the country’s air defense network is exhausted by Russian raids. Mr. Zelensky said earlier this month that Ukraine needs 25 Patriot systems, including 6-8 batteries per system, to protect the airspace fully.

The Patriot launcher deployed before the NATO summit in Latvia in July 2023. Photo: Reuters

Patriot launcher deployed before the NATO summit in Latvia in July 2023. Photo: Reuters

The Ukrainian army is operating about 3-5 Patriot complexes transferred by the US and some European countries, along with a series of short- and medium-range air defense systems from the West. However, ammunition sources are running out, making Russia’s missile and UAV raids have a higher success rate.

Western experts say that Ukraine’s air defense capabilities are so low that the Russian air force can operate freely on the front lines, continuously dropping guided glide bombs to destroy enemy lines and open the way for infantry.