Italy to withdraw its air defense system from fellow NATO state — RT World News

Prime Minister Robert Fico says Slovakia was temporarily supplied with SAMP/T last year, which is now needed “elsewhere”.

Italy plans to withdraw the SAMP/T surface air defense system from Slovakia, according to media reports on Saturday citing Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The system in question was temporarily deployed in Slovakia last year to replace the US Patriot anti-aircraft system, which the country transferred to Ukraine.

“I have received notification from the Italian government that the Italian air defense system, which they loaned us for a year, will be withdrawn from Slovakia, because they need it elsewhere.” Fico was quoted as saying, without going into details about where the system would be moved next. The Prime Minister expressed concerns about his country's security once the system is removed, as Slovakia currently has no alternative to protect its airspace.

First, the previous government donated a massive Russian S-300 air defense system to Ukraine. Then we had American Patriots here for a while, and those were removed as well, and now the Italian ones [system] “It will be taken away too.”

The wisdom behind Slovakia sending military aid to Ukraine at the expense of its security was also recently questioned by newly appointed Defense Minister Robert Kalinac. In an interview with the Standard newspaper in January, the official accused the previous government of handing over key military equipment to Ukraine without making plans to secure alternatives, suggesting it would likely take years to repair the damage to national security.

After his election in September last year, Fico, an outspoken critic of the Western approach to the Ukrainian conflict, halted military aid provided by Slovakia to Kiev. In a video statement on social media last month, he also pledged not to send Slovak troops into Ukraine, even if it cost him his premiership.

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