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US Sells 40 5th-Gen F-35s to Greece With “Strings Attached”

According to a report from the Greek local newspaper "Kathimerini" on January 27, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote a letter to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on January 26 requested Greece to transfer Russian-made weapons currently in use by its military to Ukraine.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The United States has agreed to sell a total of 40 5th generation fighter jets, the F-35 Lightning valued at US$8.6 billion (RM38.7 billion) to Greece, but at the same time has imposed “conditions” on the Mediterranean country.

The United States seeks something from Greece and is leveraging its agreement to sell the fighter jets to obtain what it desires.

What does Washington want from Greece?

According to a report by the Greek local newspaper “Kathimerini” on January 27, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote a letter to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on January 26.

The US Secretary of State requested Greece to transfer Russian-made weapons currently used by its military to Ukraine, to assist the Eastern European country in dealing with Russian military attacks.

Blinken also offered military assistance amounting to US$200 million (RM900 million) to Greece if it agrees to transfer the Russian-made weapons used by its military to Ukraine.

S-300 air defence system


Greece possesses several highly sought-after weapon systems by the Ukrainian military in resisting Russian incursions into its territory.

These include air defense systems such as the S-300 and TOR, as well as anti-aircraft artillery systems like the ZU-23-2, along with substantial reserves of ammunition.

In addition to the coveted Russian-made weapon systems owned by Greece, the United States had previously proposed purchasing cannon shells from the Mediterranean country to be provided to Ukraine.

 Washington aims to acquire 50,000 105mm cannon shells, 20,000 155mm cannon shells, and 5,000 203mm cannon shells to replenish the diminishing ammunition supplies of the Ukrainian artillery.

The total estimated value of the cannon shells that the United States is attempting to buy from Greece is US$47 million (RM211 million).

TOR air defence system


Ukraine is facing a shortage of cannon shells from the United States after the country abruptly reduced its military aid to Kiev under pressure from politicians and the public of major world powers.

Earlier last year, media reports quoted then Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, stating that the United States had urged Ankara to send the S-400 air defense system it acquired from Russia to Ukraine.

 However, Ankara rejected the “request” from Washington.

“There were several proposals from the United States regarding the S-400 air defense system. We were told (by the United States) to give them control. This is a proposal that affects our sovereignty.”

ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannon


“Where is our sovereignty? We were also offered to send the S-400 system to Ukraine, but we cannot do that,” he told Turkish television station Haberturk.

Acquired in 2019, Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 defense system has been a source of tension in relations between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey signed an agreement with Moscow in 2017 to acquire the S-400 system, estimated at US$2.5 billion (RM10 billion). The first regiment of the S-400 system was delivered to Turkey in 2019. — DSA

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