The Netherlands will not send a complete Patriot anti-aircraft system to Ukraine. However, two Patriot launchers will go to the country, which also receives Patriots from the United States and Germany. The Netherlands also supplies ‘a number of missiles’ and helps with the training that Ukrainian soldiers need to operate the anti-aircraft guns.
That is what Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren writes to the House of Representatives. An entire Patriot battery consists of a radar, a fire control center and up to six launchers. Ukraine therefore receives only a limited part of this. The Netherlands thus provides puzzle pieces with which a complete battery must be put together with the American and German contributions. In this way, according to Ollongren, it can make an ‘important contribution to Ukrainian self-defense’.
The missiles the Patriot fires are precious. Each PAC-3 missile costs about 4 million euros, a PAC-2 missile about 2 million euros. A spokesman for Defense cannot say which type of missile and how many the Netherlands will supply.
The Netherlands itself has four complete Patriot systems, one of which is kept as a reserve. According to the Defense memorandum, it should also become operational. To replace the launchers that are now being given away, the Netherlands has made agreements with the Americans about the accelerated replacement of the American weapon system.
The Patriot is the flagship of anti-aircraft guns. The system can shoot targets up to a height of about 20 kilometers and a distance of 60 kilometers from the air. Ukraine has already asked for it in order to defend its country against drone and missile attacks. For a long time it seemed impossible that Western countries would heed President Volodimir Zelensky’s call. However, after the rocket attack on an apartment building in Dnipro, which killed dozens of Ukrainians on January 14, things gained momentum.
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Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who visited Washington DC last week, already announced in an interview with CNN that the Netherlands would also contribute to the American-German Patriot effort. The exact Dutch contribution was still unclear at the time.
The Netherlands will also continue to be involved in the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom for longer. Until the end of 2023, the Netherlands will continue to help with the training. That costs 17.5 million euros. Until April, two batches of 200 Ukrainian recruits will be trained by the Marine Corps, after April another six batches will be trained by Dutch military personnel.
The Netherlands is also investigating whether it can contribute financially if other countries send tanks to Ukraine. This will be ‘further explored’ in the near future. Germany has still not taken a decision on the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks. German permission is also required for other countries that have that type of tank, although Poland also threatened to send the tanks from Berlin without permission.
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