The initiator was Germany, which leads the European Sky Shield Initiative. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that a unified air defense would be cheaper and more efficient than if each country dealt with this issue independently. In addition to Germany, the UK, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia are participating in the project.
As part of the initiative, a joint purchase of air defense systems will be organized. Possible options include the Israeli Arrow 3 (Hetz 3) missile defense system, the American Patriot air defense system and the German IRIS-T. According to Bloomberg, the European Sky Shield will have several levels of projectile interception at different heights. For example, ballistic missiles fly very high, and they have not yet been taken into account in the development of air defense. It is also planned to provide protection against drones and cruise missiles.
The declaration on a unified air defense was signed after Russia launched massive strikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure facilities. The attacks followed the explosion on the Crimean bridge, which Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the Kyiv security services of organizing.
German Defense Minister Christina Lambrecht noted that Russia’s actions pose a threat to the security of Europe. “Now we must act quickly. It is important to close the gaps [в обороне]because we all see what times we live in – these are dangerous and difficult times,” the minister said. According to Lambrecht, the project is in its initial stage, and other countries may later join it. “We are open to everyone and we know that many are interested,” Lambrecht said, adding that Germany had already entered into negotiations with them.