WASHINGTON - Initial reports that Taiwan would provide MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to Ukraine are being denied by Taipei. Originally, news stories said Taipei had agreed to sell its retired HAWK missiles to the United States. Washington planned to re-export these missiles and launchers to Ukraine. This deal would have helped to replenish Ukraine's diminishing stocks of SAMs.
At the beginning of the war, Ukraine had 50 Soviet-era SAM batteries. Western nations have pledged 20 batteries, including the Patriot, NASAMS, IRIS-T, and Crotale. Spain and the United States are already donating a single HAWK battery to Ukraine.
The donation of Taiwanese HAWKs could have provided Ukraine with a further 16 batteries. News stories said Taiwan had approximately 100 HAWK launchers in its stockpiles available for transfer to Ukraine.
Now, Taiwanese officials say the HAWK missiles in its inventory will be destroyed, not shipped to Ukraine. Taipei may be worried that transferring HAWKs to Ukraine could anger Russia.