The Biden administration is preparing to approve the deployment of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. the Air Force Times reports:
The U.S. is poised to approve sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, finally agreeing to an urgent request from Ukrainian leaders desperate for more robust weapons to shoot down incoming Russian missiles, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The approval is likely to come later this week and could be announced as early as Thursday, said three officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision is not final and has not been made public. Two of the officials said the Patriot will come from Pentagon stocks and be moved from another country overseas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed Western leaders as recently as Monday to provide more advanced weapons to help his country in its war with Russia. The Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has provided to Ukraine to help repel Russian aerial attacks.
During a video conference on Monday, Zelenskyy told host Germany and other leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers that his country needed long-range missiles, modern tanks, artillery, missile batteries and other high-tech air defense systems to counter Russian attacks that have knocked out electricity and water supplies for millions of Ukrainians.
He acknowledged that, “Unfortunately, Russia still has an advantage in artillery and missiles.” And he said protecting Ukraine’s energy facilities from Russian missiles and Iranian drones “will be the protection of the whole of Europe, since with these strikes Russia is provoking a humanitarian and migration catastrophe not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire EU.”
Ukraine invasion prompts congressional push for a new look at Patriot missile defense needs
White House and Pentagon leaders have said consistently that providing Ukraine with additional air defenses is a priority, and Patriot missiles have been under consideration for some time. Officials said that as the winter closed in and the Russian bombardment of civilian infrastructure escalated, that consideration took on increased priority.
Pentagon and State Department officials at briefings on Tuesday would not confirm the plan to provide Patriots to Ukraine, repeatedly saying they had nothing to announce.
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