Officials Say U.S. is Poised to Send Patriot Missiles to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The United States is poised to approve sending its most advanced ground-based air defense system to Ukraine, responding to the country’s urgent request to help defend against an onslaught of Russian missile and drone attacks, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III could approve a directive as early as this week to transfer one Patriot battery already overseas to Ukraine, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Final approval would then rest with President Biden.

White House, Pentagon and State Department officials declined to comment on details of the transfer of any Patriot batteries, which, if approved, would amount to one of the most sophisticated weapons the United States has provided Ukraine. The Patriot system can knock down Russia’s ballistic missiles, unlike other systems the West has provided, and can hit targets much farther away.

“We have been very clear that the United States will continue to prioritize sending air defense systems to Ukraine to help our Ukrainian partners defend themselves from the brutal Russian aggression that we’ve seen for the better part of a year now,” Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday.

Many questions remain about the potential transfer, which was reported earlier by CNN, including how many Patriot batteries would be sent to Ukraine; how long it would take to train Ukrainian soldiers on the system, presumably in Germany; and where the Patriots would be deployed inside Ukraine.

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Source: Dnyuz