(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pressured other European Union leaders to send more Patriot air-defense systems to Ukraine as Russia escalates missile and drone strikes on energy infrastructure and urban centers. 

Speaking to reporters after an informal meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, Scholz said Germany will send a third Patriot system to Ukraine and that another six should follow soon from other member states, which he didn’t identify. 

“I hope that everyone will complete their opinion-forming process as quickly as possible because time is also of the essence,” Scholz said. “We’ve heard there should be another seven now.”

In addition to the Patriot system, Germany will deliver more IRIS-T and Skynex air defense systems to Kyiv with the accompanying ammunition.

Germany has become the biggest supporter in Europe of Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s full-scale military invasion. Scholz has repeatedly urged fellow EU leaders to step up their support particularly amid delays in aid and weapons deliveries from the US. 

Ukraine is struggling to fend off military pressure from Russia in the face of a lack of ammunition and with a $61 billion US aid package stuck in Congress. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been calling for more air defense systems to be sent to Ukraine as Kremlin troops exploit the country’s weakness to step up missile attacks on power stations, electricity grid and residential areas across the country. 

Read more: Germany to Give Ukraine Another Patriot Anti-Missile System

“The situation is very, very grave and we have to send them what they ask for, which is ammunition and air defense,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told reporters earlier at the summit on Thursday. “We just can’t afford that Ukraine is losing the war or the whole security situation in Europe is in grave danger.”

Germany has launched an appeal to collect Patriots for Ukraine and other air defense systems, including Samp/Ts, Nasams, Hawks and Iris-Ts.

In a joint letter sent to NATO allies this week and seen by Bloomberg, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that recent Russian attacks on vital energy infrastructure have caused greater destruction than in the winter of 2022. “Given the situation that Ukraine is faced with, they are a matter of great urgency,” they said of the aid.

EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also urged Group of Seven ministers to act quickly on air defense to Ukraine, where the power system “will be destroyed” by Russian attacks as the invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin entered its third year. 

“Western countries, Japan, Canada, the US, Europe, have to take quicker decisions in order to support Ukraine more because we cannot afford Putin’s victory,” Borrell said. 

(Updates Scholz quote starting in the third paragraph.)

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