The development would represent the most significant step yet by the Biden administration to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses. The United States has provided Ukraine with more than $20 billion in weapons and military equipment since the war began in late February, but it has staunchly refused to send some of the most advanced weapons, including long-range missiles, fighter jets and main battle tanks, senior officials have previously said. They want to avoid actions that Moscow sees as a possible escalation that would require extensive training of Ukrainian troops.
Pentagon eyes massive expansion of Ukrainian military training
The United States has also taken other steps to improve Ukraine’s air defenses, including launching two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) into Ukraine last month. In November, the Pentagon signed a $1.2 billion contract with Raytheon to send six more NASAMS to Ukraine, but building them is expected to take up to two years. U.S. officials also helped broker a deal with NATO ally Slovakia to send its sole S-300 air defense system to Ukraine in exchange for Patriot troops.
What exactly influenced the Biden administration’s idea of sending the Patriot after months of assessments that it wasn’t necessary or possible was unclear on Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Patrick Clyde said he had made no statement on the issue. The news was first reported by CNN.
Ukraine wants more air defense systems. Here’s how it works.
The Patriot system relies on advanced radar to detect incoming projectiles and fire long-range missiles to intercept them. Its launcher is mounted on a truck chassis and is highly mobile. About 90 soldiers are assigned to a typical Patriot battery, which includes as many as eight launchers, each holding four missiles ready to fire. According to the U.S. Army, only three Soldiers are required to operate and launch the missile from the Patriot’s engagement control station.
It has become the backbone of defense for many U.S. allies and partners. The United States has deployed its own Patriot troops in countries including Poland and Saudi Arabia, and has approved sales of the weapons to others, including Romania, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
U.S. unveils plan to rebuild Ukraine’s energy grid after Russia attack
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the Biden administration wants to thwart “any effort by Russia to gain an advantage in Ukraine,” whether it be military advantage or advantage gained through brutality and destruction of civilian infrastructure. “.
The administration’s focus “will be on things that actually pose a real threat to Ukraine and its people,” he said, adding that more military support could be announced “in the coming days.”
The G7 said in a joint statement this week that they would continue to coordinate efforts to meet Ukraine’s urgent needs, “with an immediate focus on providing Ukraine with air defense systems and capabilities.”