JAKARTA - France and Italy are close to finalizing technical details regarding plans to ship the SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine, two diplomatic sources said on Thursday, although it is not yet clear how soon the final decision will be taken.
Kyiv has asked its Western allies to add air defense systems, specifically requesting SAMP/T, known as Mamba, in November last year.
Reportedly, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu will travel to Italy on Friday, to meet with his Italian Guido Crosetto, with both sides looking to push for SAMP/T talks.
"We are finalizing it with the Italian side. Not long after," a French diplomatic source said.
The defense system created by a consortium with France-Italy SAMP/T can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 at once, the only European-made system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles.
"Political decisions have been made. Now it remains only to complete technical details because this is a complicated system," said a second diplomat, adding that he hoped French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni would make an official decision.
Meanwhile, a third official said technical talks were ongoing.
It is known, the previous Paris had supplied Mistral shoulder anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine and Crotale short-range anti-air missiles, which were used to intercept low-flying missiles and aircraft.
Ukraine is in dire need of air defense systems, to fend off Russian airstrikes, both using bombers, missile launchers and drones.
Most recently, Russian airstrikes on Thursday caused Ukrainian civilians to race for cover, causing casualties, injuries, and damage to civilian buildings, a day after Britain and the United States confirmed the delivery of the main fighter tank (MBT) to Kyiv.
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