“In any case, the national interest is a priority,” he pointed out the Minister of National Defense, Nikos Dendias, answering a question about the future of the Russian anti-aircraft systems that our country has, in an interview he granted to the newspaper Political, in which he referred extensively to the armament program of the Navy.

In particular, when asked if we have been asked to send TOR M1, OSA-AK and S-300 to strengthen the Ukrainian defense, Mr. Dendias stated that “it does not mean their withdrawal, from the Greek National Air Defense System where they are integrated, without their replacement with weapon systems of similar or superior operational capabilities. In addition, he reiterated, as is the case for all weapons systems, upon their procurement, there are legal obligations to sell or grant them. In any case, the national interest is a priority.”

At the same time, when asked if Greece would consider sending its own military to the territory of Ukraine in the event that Western countries respond, he replied that “there is no such issue, as the Prime Minister of our country, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has made clear”.

In response to questions about the armament program of the Navy, the Minister of National Defense stated:

For the Constellation frigates he said that “the acceptance by the USA of the proposal to participate in the construction of new frigates of this type, is a great national success. However, we cannot be complacent. In parallel with the procurement of the Constellations, we are implementing a multi-layered fleet upgrade programme, modernizing existing frigates, enhancing their capabilities and investing in new technologies and innovation, including unmanned vessels, on the surface of the sea but also below it, for the expansion of our operational flexibility”.

About the 4th French frigate FDI Belh@rra -for which there is an option-, Mr. Dendias clarified that “the non-activation of the option is due to the need to prioritize and review the defense priorities as well as the re-evaluation of the operational requirements by the General Staffs. Although the option for the 4th FDI was not activated, Greece keeps open the possibility of future procurement of additional FDI frigates, taking into account evolving defense needs and available financial means”

For US LCS frigates Mr. Dendias commented that “since the LCS are fully operational and given to us for free, it is a system that will be evaluated by the General Staff. But the decision will be taken after the submission of the recommendations of GEETHA and GEN, which will of course take into account the situation in which the specific ships are offered for concession”.

On the subject of acquiring corvettes he reiterated that “the program to strengthen the Navy with new corvettes has been suspended, but not canceled, as we are awaiting the proposals of the General Staffs, in the context of the prioritization of armament programs. At the same time, however, we also aim to change the page at the level of mentality, with a gradual transition from the mentality of “buying off the shelf” to the mentality of co-production, as in the case of Constellation”, he reminded.

For the mission of the HYDRA frigate in the Red Sea after repeating that “this mission involves risks”, Mr. Dendias clarified that “the ship that undertook this mission is absolutely seaworthy and has the weapon systems and means of self-defense that allow it to successfully carry out its mission, which they were even reinforced before his departure”.

-For the future course of the Greek Aviation Industry Mr. Dendias commented that “AAB has experienced human resources and significant know-how. With the right strategy, with investments and rational management, it can cover the lost ground and reach a high level of competitiveness. I strongly believe that ODA has what it takes to succeed. It has the time, the resources and the necessary support from the government. Our goal is to become a reliable provider of support services for Air Force aircraft, a competitive “player” in the global defense systems market and an important pillar of the Greek economy, with the creation of new jobs and domestic added value.

At the same time, he reiterated that “the upgrading of the Greek defense industry, with the EAB in a leading role, is a national goal of the highest importance”.

-For the situation that developed in Stefanovikio after the September floods where the 1st Army Aviation Brigade is based, Mr. Dendias said: “I want to assure you that we are working to find solutions. The flood phenomenon caused extensive damage to Army Air Force facilities, as a result of which important infrastructures were put out of service. One of the solutions we are considering is to create new facilities in another location. However, this solution is complex and time-consuming, as it requires finding a suitable location, building new facilities and transporting the equipment. The General Staff of the Army is examining and will recommend to the General Staff and the Ministry of National Defense all possible solutions. Our goal is that the final choice is sustainable, cost-effective and ensures the uninterrupted operation of the Army Aviation”

Responding to a question whether Athens has capitalized and to what extent, in terms of military aid, its relationship with Washington, Mr. Dendias reiterated that “our bilateral relations with the USA are at the highest point they have been in for many decades, based on common principles and values. With the signing of the agreements and with the successful realization of the annual rounds of Strategic Dialogue with the USA, Greece it is now recognized as a pillar of stability and security in the wider region,” he added, referring to the inclusion of Alexandroupolis in them. “The upgrading of our relations has borne fruit. Of course, our goal is the continuous strengthening of our relations, which brings mutual benefits for Greece and the USA”, he added.

For the course of Greek-Turkish relations he repeated that “for there to be a real change of page in Greek-Turkish relations and not just a ‘recession’, our neighboring country should fully embrace the European acquis. Not necessarily with its accession to the EU. – which, however, Greece firmly supports and regardless of political leadership – but with the acceptance, within the specific framework, of what International Law, the International Law of the Sea, the principles of democracy, human rights, and good neighborliness provide as a system of law , of the peaceful resolution of disputes. As long as this does not happen, there will always be the risk of regression of Greek-Turkish relations to what we experienced a few years ago, with an indicative example in 2020”.