Slovakia reported delivering its only S-300 weapons system to Ukraine last week
Russian forces have destroyed foreign-supplied S-300 anti-aircraft launchers in a number of precision strikes on Ukraine, the Defense Ministry, in Moscow, claimed on Monday. Days earlier, Slovakia reported the donation of a battery of old Soviet-made S-300 air defense missiles to Kiev.
In its regular briefing on the ongoing military action in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry reported hitting a hangar “on the southern outskirts of the city of Dnepropetrovsk,” where “equipment from an S-300 battery supplied to the Ukrainian regime by one of the European nations” was hidden.
The barrage of sea-launched Kalibr missiles destroyed four S-300 launchers and as many as 25 Ukrainian troops in the Sunday strike, ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed. He used the old name of the city, which Ukrainian authorities renamed Dnepro in 2016 to distance it from the Soviet period of the country’s history.
The Russian official also reported destroying an S-300 targeting radar in a separate overnight precision airstrike near Uspenovka. The general didn’t specify which of the multiple villages of that name in Ukraine he was referring to, and didn’t say whether the radar was part of the battery supplied by the foreign nation.
Last Friday, Slovakia announced that it had donated its only S-300 battery to Ukraine. The weapon system was part of the NATO member’s legacy from the Warsaw Pact days, when it formed part of Czechoslovakia. It was not clear how many vehicles were sent to Ukraine. A regular S-300 battery can have as few as four and as many as 12 launchers using a single radar to identify targets, and is controlled by a single command post.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger assured citizens that the country’s national security would not be compromised since “allies” agreed to boost its air defense in return. US President Joe Biden said his country would provide an American Patriot missile battery as a replacement and thanked Bratislava for agreeing to give the S-300 to Kiev. Elements of the Patriot system started arriving in Slovakia three weeks ago, according to its defense minister.
Responding to Russian claims on Twitter, Prime Minister Heger called them a “hoax” and “Russian propaganda.” The statement was apparently based on a denial that Slovakia received from Kiev.
Washington reportedly wanted another NATO member, Turkey, to strike a similar deal with Ukraine and send it a Russian-supplied S-400, which is more advanced than the S-300. Ankara rejected the idea, saying the system would remain in its possession. In 2020, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey for buying the S-400s from Russia under a deal signed in 2017.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.