BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad says the United States will deploy a Patriot air defense system in his country next week.
Friday’s announcement came shortly after Slovakia donated its Soviet-era S-300 air defense system to Ukraine at its request. Nad previously said his country was willing to provide its S-300 to Ukraine on condition it has a proper replacement.
Additionally, Germany and the Netherlands have agreed to send troops armed with Patriot missiles to Slovakia as part of 2,100-strong force made up of soldiers from several NATO members states, including the U.S. The force will form a battlegroup on Slovak territory to boost NATO defenses on the alliance’s eastern flank.
NATO members Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece have S-300s, which can fire missiles hundreds of miles and knock out cruise missiles as well as aircraft.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger recently visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv with top European Union officials, ahead of a planned meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.
Zelenskyy had mentioned S-300s by name when he spoke to U.S. lawmakers by video last month, appealing for defense systems that would allow Ukraine to “close the skies” to Russian planes and missiles.