- Georgy Muratov, Russia's permanent representative in Crimea, told Greece not to give Russia's S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine.
- Turkey said it would destroy the missiles ahead of time if they were sent as planned. In the end, the S-300 was put on Crete as part of a deal brokered by the US.
Russia told Greece on Monday that sending Greece’s S-300 missile defence system to Ukraine would be “a very provocative move.”
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that the Russian military will find and destroy any weapons sent to Ukraine.
Zakharova said, “We think it’s very provocative that the Kyiv regime wants to get S-300s or other Russian/Soviet air defence systems that will be used against Russia.”
“Greek officials recently said that they were ready to give Ukraine the S-300 PMU1 missile defence system, but only if the Ukrainians gave them American Patriot missile defence systems to replace them,” she said.
“Greece doesn’t care at all about the international rules about buying and selling arms,” she said.
Russia’s threats came after unconfirmed reports that the Greek Defense Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, promised to send the S-300 system that is currently stored in Crete in exchange for US-made Patriots.
Nikos Panagiotopoulos was quoted as saying, “If the US puts a Patriot system on Crete, and then integrates it into the national air defence system, the S-300s can be taken away.” He also said that the same thing would happen with any other Russian air defence system that the US would like to send to Ukraine.
Georgy Muratov, Russia’s permanent representative in Crimea, told Greece not to give Russia’s S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine. He said that doing so would be a “irrational show of hostility toward Russia.”
Muratov told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, “Such a move by Athens would not only be an irrational show of hostility toward Russia, but also a dangerous step toward its own national interests, as the Greek public opinion is already loudly emphasising.”
As of Tuesday, Greece had not officially said whether or not it would give Ukraine S-300s.
Panagiotopoulos had ruled out the possibility that Greece would give Ukraine its S-300s in June 2022, saying that Greece was facing “a real threat” and that it would not give Ukraine “what we need, what is useful, and what is mostly operationally active.”
In 1997, Cyprus bought the S-300 to protect itself from an attack by Turkey. In response, Turkey said it would destroy the missiles ahead of time if they were sent as planned. In the end, the S-300 was put on Crete as part of a deal brokered by the US.