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Nato-member Slovakia has started receiving components of Patriot missile defence systems from partner countries, reported Reuters.
The deployment is part of Nato’s efforts to strengthen its defences in the eastern part of the alliance, amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
In a tweet, Slovakian Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad confirmed the arrival of the Patriot system.
He tweeted: “Thankful to Germany and Netherlands – First elements of Patriot air defence are arriving to Slovakia. Welcome!”
The move comes weeks after The Netherlands and Germany began preparations to transfer the air defence system to Slovakia.
The deployment is now expected to continue in the upcoming days.
It was reported earlier that the Netherlands will send one Patriot missile defence system while Germany will send two units.
The Patriot air defence system is capable of intercepting tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft. The PAC-1 version has a range of approximately 70km.
The Patriot system will not replace Slovakia’s existing S-300 missile defence system but will instead compliment it, according to Minister Nad.
He was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Temporarily, the system will be deployed at the Sliac air force base, further deployment areas are being consulted […] so that the security umbrella covers the largest possible part of Slovak territory.”
The missile defence system will be operated by German and Dutch personnel.
Ukraine continues to receive military and humanitarian assistance from the world.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the government agreed to provide an additional NZD5m ($3.45m) of non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine. The fund will be used to procure fuel, military rations, communications, and military first aid kits.
Last week, US President Biden signed an order approving the transfer of an additional $800m worth of military equipment to Ukraine. The consignment will include anti-aircraft systems, uncrewed aerial systems, grenade launchers, rifles, and munition, among others.