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05 December, 2022
 
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Athens wants arms for Ukraine out of public view

Greek minister laments leaks on possible Ukraine arms shipment, likening intelligence to 'swiss cheese'

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Wednesday he would ask the heads of the three branches of the Greek Armed Forces to contain recent disclosures in the media on the list of weapons that Greece may send to Ukraine, likening their information system to a “Swiss cheese.”

On May 31, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Berlin will provide modern vehicles to Greece so that the government in Athens can deliver Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine. Scholz said he had struck an agreement with Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which he had met earlier that day. Scholz didn’t give any details as to what kind of infantry fighting vehicles Berlin will hand over to Greece – or what kind of weapons Athens will pass on to Kyiv.

The minister said Greece has 'no intention' of sending its Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, which are stored in Crete

“We do not provide such information in open procedures because they should be compared with the total number of our capabilities,” Panagiotopoulos told lawmakers at a briefing of the parliamentary defence committee on Wednesday, when asked whether the government will reveal the list of weapons that will be send to Ukraine and the possibility that such information is leaked by military sources.

“Such information should not be made public lightly.”

He then called on all those involved in national defense to “act with the responsibility due” to a sensitive issue. Panagiotopoulos clarified, however, that Athens will not part with weapons that are not covered by the deal with Germany.

“We will not provide our islands’ anti-aircraft weapons or anti-ship missiles, no matter how much they ask us to, because we have a real threat,” he said, adding that Greece has “no intention” of sending its Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, which are stored in Crete.

In early March 2022, Greece sent Kalashnikovs and launchers to Ukraine, along with humanitarian aid and in May it was considering sending BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, if their immediate replacement is ensured by personnel and combat vehicles of similar capabilities.

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