According to various reports, the Biden administration is ready to transfer the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to assist its soldiers in repelling Russian aerial attacks.
Pentagon officials are working together a strategy that must be authorized by Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin before being submitted to President Biden for final approval.
According to officials, permission is likely, and an announcement might be made as early as this week. So far, the White House, Pentagon, and State Dept. have all refused to comment on the Tuesday reports.
The Patriot surface-to-air missile system is one of the most advanced pieces of technology delivered to Ukraine in its efforts to repel a full-scale Russian invasion that began in late Feb. According to The Washington Post, the Biden government has already handed Ukraine over $20 billion in military assistance over the duration of the war, including mid-range defensive National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.
Kyiv has recently pressured its Western partners for more advanced weapons. “Unfortunately, Russia continues to hold the advantage in artillery and missiles,” Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday in an address to the Group of Seven nations.
Although there has been fear over further inciting Moscow’s wrath, officials told the Associated Press that Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine as winter returns contributed to the decision to move the Patriot battery. Other US allies have purchased the Raytheon-made system, including Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.
During a phone call with Zelensky on Sunday, Biden “outlined how the United States is prioritizing efforts to enhance Ukraine’s air defense through our military aid, including the Dec. 9 announcement of $275 million of additional ammo and equipment, which would include systems to counter Russian utilization of unmanned aerial vehicles,” according to a White House readout. This follows claims that Russia is employing Iranian-made drones to strike infrastructure in Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odesa.