US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked Greece to send excess weapons to Ukraine following the deal to sell Athens the fifth-generation F-35 jets.
In a letter addressed to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Blinken expressed interest in Greece’s defense capabilities that could be useful to Ukraine, contingent upon Ukraine’s interest and a subsequent assessment of the condition and approximate cost of the proposed assets.
Greece currently has Soviet air defense systems such as Tor, Osa, S-300, and ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft systems that are no longer in use. It is not yet known which of these will be transferred to Ukraine.
In return, Washington will consider providing additional aid to Athens, amounting to a possible two hundred million dollars.
“We continue to be interested in Greece’s defense potential to transfer or sell to Ukraine,” Blinken said. “If these opportunities are of interest to Ukraine and before the US government assesses their condition and approximate cost, we can explore opportunities for the potential allocation of additional foreign military financing in the amount of up to US$200 million for Greece.”
This proposal comes after the US State Department’s latest authorization of a prospective US$8.6 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets and associated equipment to Greece.
According to the Pentagon’s Security Cooperation Agency, this deal could involve the procurement of up to forty fighters, forty-two engines, guidance systems, spare parts, and other ancillary equipment, with assurances that such transactions would not undermine US military readiness or disrupt regional military balance.
In June 2022, Greece formally submitted a request to the United States seeking approval to acquire twenty Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 fighter jets.
Anticipating a positive outcome, Athens envisions the commencement of jet deliveries in 2027 to 2028.
In addition to the proposed sale of F-35 jets, the United States intends to provide Greece with two C-130H aircraft, ten engines for P-3 aircraft, sixty Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and four LCS frigates from its excess defense articles.
Greece’s weapons already sent to Ukraine
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Greece has supplied Ukrainian armed forces with a wide range of combat vehicles and weapons, including forty BMP-1A1 infantry fighting vehicles from Greek stocks, beginning in October 2022.
This was part of a ‘Ringtausch’ program by which Greece received forty Marder IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) in exchange. Additionally, there’s an ongoing plan to deliver more BMP-1A1 IFVs.
In the realm of anti-tank weaponry, Greece has supplied Ukraine with 815 RPG-18s, a process that began in February 2022. Complementing these deliveries, Greece also provided twenty thousand Kalashnikov rifles during the same period.
Ammunition support from Greece includes an unspecified number of 122mm rocket artillery rounds for BM-21 and RM-70 MRLs, which began arriving in Ukraine in February 2022. Future deliveries are set to include artillery ammunition, small arms ammunition, and the procurement of 155mm ammunition through the European Defense Agency.
Beyond equipment, Greece is also contributing to training Ukrainian military personnel. This includes training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jet fighters slated for 2023/2024, the deployment of Hellenic Army soldiers to train Ukrainian Special Forces in 2022/2023, and similar training for Ukrainian troops on the Leopard 2 MBT during the same period.
Lastly, Greece’s support extends to medical aid, with plans for the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Greece, scheduled for 2023. This comprehensive aid package underscores Greece’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s defense capabilities and overall regional stability.