Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
By Vassilis Nedos
The war in Ukraine is expediting the complete decoupling of the Hellenic Armed Forces from Russian-made weapons systems, as it is becoming abundantly clear that the rupture between Moscow and NATO is not conducive to the creation of conditions for their maintenance.
This was the approach informing the recent proposal from Washington to Athens to replace all Russian systems in the Hellenic Armed Forces arsenal with NATO-made systems.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has praised Greece’s attitude and the fact that it proceeded with the exchange of BMP-1s, while still providing 155 mm missiles for Ukraine’s artillery
The proposal mainly concerns anti-aircraft systems, such as the S-300 and Tor-M1 missiles. Systems such as the older Osa-K anti-aircraft systems are already obsolete, while the program of cyclical exchange of 40 BMP-1 armored combat vehicles for German Marder vehicles may be extended even further. The US proposal will open the door for direct communications between the militaries of the two nations and entails funding through resources currently accessible to the US Pentagon, such as FMF (Foreign Military Funding).
Ukraine’s proposal to provide the air defense systems in exchange for their maintenance in Ukrainian factories was rejected for two main reasons.
First, because Russia still has the end user licensing agreement, Greece is unable to export this industrial product to a third party without Moscow’s consent, which is probably impossible given the current situation. What’s more, it is unclear whether Ukrainian industries are capable of taking on such a project while the nation is still at war. Secondly, Greece cannot create gaps in its air force, especially if there is no possibility of immediate replacement. These arguments have been fully understood by the Americans as well.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has praised Greece’s attitude and the fact that it proceeded with the exchange of BMP-1s, while still providing 155 mm missiles for Ukraine’s artillery.
Discussions between the US and Greece are expected in the coming period.