March 30, 2022
A top Pentagon official told lawmakers Wednesday the Biden administration is working to accommodate NATO ally Slovakia’s offer to send more S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion.
Slovakia has agreed to provide Ukraine with the Soviet-era system to help defend against Russian airstrikes, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing the U.S. is working out Slovakia’s request for some kind of backfill.
“We are working with Slovakia to identify the requirements for meeting their needs,” she said. “We are working on this, and meanwhile we have focused on getting countries that hold Soviet legacy systems, including S-300 systems – that have spare parts, missiles, different parts of that S-300 – who are willing to send that to Ukraine.”
Germany, whose defense minister visited U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon Wednesday, has committed to sending Patriot air-defense capabilities to Slovakia, which borders Ukraine in the east. Nad has said the Patriot, part of a new NATO battlegroup, would complement the S-300 and not replace it.
In a separate exchange, Wallander affirmed 100 Switchblade drones are part of a U.S. package being delivered to Ukraine. It’s been previously reported the drones, made by AeroVironment, are part of a $800 million aid tranche in the process of being sent this month, with a range of anti-armor weapons, firearms, body armor and ammunition. (Ukrainian forces already use Turkish Bayraktar TB2 armed drones.)