“Ukraine War is pretext to withdraw Russian-made anti-aircraft systems from the Greek Islands”: Report

Russian-made S-300

Antinews reported in January that the US and Germany are pressuring Greece to withdraw the Russian-made anti-aircraft systems, TOR-M1 and OSA, which are the backbone of the Greek air defence in the Aegean against Turkey.

According to Antinews, this pressure manifested with particular intensity since 2021.

And all this is at a time when Turkey is constantly making demands, accuses Greece of illegally militarising the islands in the Aegean, and, indirectly but clearly, demands the withdrawal of heavy weapons (including anti-aircraft systems) from the islands.

In short, they want the islands to be at mercy of the Turkish amphibious army.

Meanwhile, companies in major Western countries are favouring the withdrawal because they believe they will sell their own anti-aircraft systems.

It remains to be seen whether a possible withdrawal will be another opportunity for a new armaments party or a step towards the demilitarisation of the islands.

Until now, however, the government has cited Turkish aggression as a reason for equipping the country.

Now, the government invokes Russia and Ukraine for a further armaments party. And this, when the fund is minus and in the coming months is expected to have dried up permanently.

However, the government’s plans to withdraw Russian weapons systems seem to be causing concern and reactions.

Indicative is the post made on Facebook by the former head of the General Staff, Konstantinos Ziazias, entitled “Above all and everyone the national interest”.

He wrote: “With surprise and concern, we heard the Prime Minister of our country declare on a television station about the Russian weapons systems that our country has and their requirements for spare parts in the near future, which were decisions from another decade. ”

With all the respect that all Greeks must have for the institutions of our country, these statements do not publicly represent reality and are dangerous for the national defence, but also for the morale of the army.

The weapons systems, which we do not need to name today, for obvious reasons, are indeed of decades past, but I assure you, Mr. Prime Minister, as our worthy military leadership assures you, that they are supercritical, necessary for the defence of the country, even if they are decades old until we replace them with more modern ones.

Of these Russian weapons systems that are critical to the national defence, some were provided free of charge to Greece after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Prime Minister, for decades now our Army personnel have been fighting to keep these weapons systems operational.

The military leadership is fighting for the supply of spare parts, mainly from Russia, as well as from other countries of the former Soviet Union, which even have these weapons systems in operation.

The technical staff of our factories and units is struggling, even with “patents”, to keep these weapons systems operational. The requirement to supply spare parts is primary and immediate.

Mr. Prime Minister, these weapons systems, the availability of which is at a high level, are actively and significantly involved in the country’s defence shield.

They are the ones who provide us with anti-aircraft protection for the combat units, they are the ones who provide us with anti-aircraft protection on our islands, they are the ones who complement the anti-tank defence of our locations and in general they are the ones who contribute greatly to creating a climate of deterrence.

They are the ones who, despite their “years”, create fear and uncertainty in the neighbour. They are the ones who are asking, pushing the Turks, together with our allies, to withdraw from our islands and implement their revisionist policy, without “force”.

Mr. Prime Minister, did you think about how all these executives, who serve with these weapons systems, felt when they heard that their commander considers that these weapons systems are not crucial for the nation while their Commands of all levels, their Lieutenant, their Captain, their Lieutenant Colonel, their Commander, the Commanding Officer, remind them and emphasise daily the need for availability and the enormous value that these weapons systems have for the defence of our islands?

He certainly felt frustrated but also angry.

Our staff remembered what man-hours they spent to keep these weapons systems reliable and operationally ready to carry out their mission and you devalue them and therefore devalue the staff who serve them with great difficulty, but not sparing time and effort, fortunately our army keeps them on operational alert.

Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, they are from past decades and two decades ago they should have been replaced with modern corresponding weapons systems, of course western type, since we must also fulfill our obligations towards our allies.

However, the state of the economy and the creditors who supervise our country did not allow it to equip the Armed Forces in a timely and proportionate manner, as the political system has always said to the military leaderships.

The supply of spare parts and their placement on the supply scale of our Army, for the next at least five years, is absolutely necessary, for the smooth periodic maintenance, for the repair of any damages and for the availability of these weapon systems, which constitute the backbone of our national defence, in some sensitive areas of our country.

But how will these spare parts be procured when our country has closed the last rift of communication with the supplier country, in the name of allied solidarity and not in the name of national interest and national defence?

It is clear that the foreign policy is pursued by the elected government, which knows all the facts of the international scene, but above all it is the national interest and here I believe that for national reasons we should not become “more royal than kings”, yes to condemn the Russian invasion , yes to impose the sanctions proposed by the allied organisations we participate in, but our national interests have forced us to keep low tones of confrontation with Russia, as Cyprus did, as most European Union countries have done and to enable our country to negotiate with Russia on issues related to the supply of spare parts for our main weapons systems.

There is a general belief that our reaction to Russia was excessive and we did not weigh, did not assess key factors to shape the reaction of our country. Making a decision by the “one”, without the assessment and suggestions of experts, involves, in addition to the relative risk, the risk of leading to mistakes, omissions with very serious consequences for the security of the country.

We may be on the right side of history, and indeed we are, but our leaders obviously have not studied our history… We were on the right side of the world and history in 1919, with our participation in the Ukrainian campaign, but immediately afterwards we found ourselves in the wrong world; on the wrong side, we did not “read” the global correlations correctly and we found ourselves on the “wrong” side, without having appreciated the consequences of this campaign.

So, now that the great contradictions and controversies are reshaping in our region and on the planet, it is extremely important to “read” the upcoming developments correctly and to place ourselves on the victorious and democratic side of history. What we choose today will benefit us or put a brake on our national aspirations a decade later, in the new world that will emerge. It is extremely important that our leaders “read” the upcoming developments correctly.

Here I would like to emphasise that leaders must first of all understand their country’s geographical position on the world map, understand the correlation of power and the position of their country in it and their national interests.

Geography largely leads to the shaping of national interests as well as to the formulation of both foreign and domestic policy. The compass of foreign policy is to serve the national interest and not just to be liked by friends and allies.

The editor for Antinews.

READ MORE: WAR IN UKRAINE – Mitsotakis against revisionism and Erdoğan.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor