Home Europe Denmark pledges to send Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Ukraine

Denmark pledges to send Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Ukraine

Danish Harpoon coastal defense system
The Royal Danish Navy operated the Block I Harpoon coastal missile defense system between 1988 and 2003. Photo: Marinens Bibliotek

Denmark has promised to send a Harpoon launcher and missiles to Ukraine, US defense secretary Lloyd J. Austin III revealed following a virtual international meeting on Monday.

The second meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group attracted more than 40 ministers and chiefs of defense, and was addressed by Ukraine’s minister of defense Oleksii Reznikov.

Following the meeting, the US defense secretary highlighted the military donations for Ukraine pledged by numerous countries to help it defend against the Russian invasion.

“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said.

First fielded in the 1970s, the Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile capable of defeating a range of surface targets. It can be launched from surface ships, submarines, aircraft, and even coastal launchers.

While it was not specified, the Harpoon missiles Denmark will be sending to Ukraine could be the Block I coastal defense systems which were retired in Denmark in 2003.

The donation comes at a time when Russia is continuing its blockade of Odessa, a major Ukrainian Black Sea port through which it exports its wheat products. Potent anti-ship missiles which would complement its R-360 Neptune shore-based anti-ship missiles could help Ukraine break the blockade.

“I’d also like to thank the Czech Republic for its substantial support, including a recent donation of attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems,” Austin added.

“And today, several countries announced new donations of critically needed artillery systems and ammunition, including Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland. And let me also recognize the United Kingdom for its leading role in helping to coordinate security assistance and for the significant quantities of British equipment that continue to flow into Ukraine.”

Austin also revealed that in addition to the transfer of Brimstone missile, the UK would be supplying “a new short-range air defense system,” without going into details.

According to Austin, a third meeting of the Contact Group is set for next month, building upon the inaugural meeting held at Ramstein air base in Germany, on April 26.