Slovakia has sent an S-300 air defence system to Ukraine. Here's what it means

It is the first NATO country to have donated such a significant weapons system to Ukraine.

The launch of the S-300 system in Bulgaria.The launch of the S-300 system in Bulgaria. (Source: Defence Ministry)

Slovakia has donated its S-300 air defence system to Ukraine, citing article 51 of the UN Charter, to help its neighbour defend itself from Russian attack. Here are more details about the system and the consequences for Slovakia.

Read more to learn: how the system will help Ukraine; what will now protect Slovakia's skies; whether the donation is legal; and where it leaves Slovakia with regard to the war.

1. How will the S-300 help Ukraine?

Though the S-300 is not the most modern air defence system, it can effectively eliminate enemy aeroplanes, drones and missiles. In Ukraine, it could protect cities or strategic targets like nuclear power plants. The system is not capable of protecting vast tracts of territory, but it is effective at protecting specific areas and positions.

At the beginning of the Russian aggression, Ukraine operated dozens of S-300 systems. The Ukrainian army will therefore be familiar with the system from Slovakia, and be able to deploy it immediately.

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2. Will the donation of its only S-300 system put Slovakia's air defences at risk?

The Defence Ministry has repeatedly stated that it would only be ready to donate the Slovak system to Ukraine if its partners in NATO provided an equivalent replacement to Slovakia.

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