The United States is completing preparations to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, an announcement is expected this week.
About it on Tuesday informed CNN, citing two US officials and a senior Biden administration official. The plan developed by the Department of Defense must be approved by the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, and then signed by the US president. At the same time, three interlocutors told the publication that such approval is expected. Once the plans are finalized, the Patriots will be quickly deployed “in the coming days” and the Ukrainian military will be trained in their use at a US base in Germany.
Previously, Ukraine has repeatedly called on the United States to send Patriot air defense systems amid the constant threat of Russian missile attacks on energy infrastructure. Nevertheless, the US presidential administration refused – due to the difficulties of logistics and maintenance of the installation. The opinion of the White House has changed “the reality of what is happening on the ground.”
It is not yet known how many units will be sent, but a typical SAM battery includes a target-detecting and tracking radar, computers, power equipment, a combat use control station and up to eight launchers. Each of them has four missiles ready to launch. The Patriot air defense system is an advanced long-range air defense system that is extremely effective in intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles. If received, it will be the most effective long-range defense system that Ukraine has received from the allies since the beginning of the war. In addition, according to CNN’s interlocutors, Patriot will also help protect the airspace for NATO countries in Eastern Europe.
The Russian reaction was immediate. “Previously, many experts, including foreign ones, questioned the rationality of such a step, which would lead to an escalation of the conflict and increase the risk of direct involvement in the hostilities of the US army,” stated Zakharova at a briefing in Moscow. “If this is confirmed, we will witness another provocative step by the administration [Байдена]which can lead to unpredictable consequences, ”the Russian embassy said in a statement.
According to the press secretary of the Russian President Peskov, information disseminated by foreign media is “an unreliable thing.” In this context, Vladimir Putin’s representative urged to wait for official confirmation of the dispatch of Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine. At the same time, he threatened that advanced missile defense systems would become a “legitimate target” for the RF Armed Forces and be destroyed.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder reacted to Russia’s statements about the inadmissibility of providing Ukraine with Patriot complexes, noting that they will not affect the US decision on military assistance to Kyiv, quotes CNN:
“I find it ironic and very eloquent that the officials of a country that brutally attacked its neighbor with an illegal and unprovoked invasion, deliberately aimed at killing innocent civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, that it was they who chose to use words like “provocation” to describe defensive systems designed to save lives and protect civilians.”
In response to the assertion of the Russian Federation that the supply of Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine “lead to unpredictable consequences“, the United States noted that Russia is solely responsible for any provocations regarding the war in Ukraine. Pat Ryder emphasized:
“The only provocative measures that have been taken throughout this entire conflict are carried out by Russia. The US is not and never has been at war with Russia.”
He added that the US is doing “exactly what Biden told Putin we would do” in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine – “provide security assistance and help Ukraine defend itself and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.”