Italy likely to send second air defence system to Ukraine, source says

Italy likely to send second air defence system to Ukraine, source says
# 03 June 2024 18:50 (UTC +04:00)

Italy will likely send a second SAMP/T air defence system to Ukraine, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Monday, responding to Kyiv's demands for greater help to fend off Russian missile attacks, APA reports citing Reuters.

The system, also known as MAMBA, is a Franco-Italian battery that can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 at once. It is the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles.

Rome and Paris jointly delivered a first system in 2023, but in recent months Ukraine has repeatedly called on partners to provide more help with air defence as it faces an increasing barrage of attacks on cities and energy infrastructure.

The source, who declined to be named, confirmed newspaper reports that Italy was preparing to send a SAMP/T system which is deployed in Kuwait, but is soon due to return to Italy.

However, he did not give a timeframe for any delivery.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Italy has approved eight support packages to the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The air defence system is likely to be part of a ninth package that might be approved shortly, the source added.

All the deliveries are covered by official secrecy and the government has never made public the exact list of weapons it has sent to Ukraine.

Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Monday that the government could green light the new supplies after a summit of leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies, which Italy will host on June 13-15.

G7 foreign ministers pledged in April to provide more air defence help to Ukraine during a meeting Italy hosted on the island of Capri, saying they were committed to saving lives and safeguarding critical infrastructure.

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