The United States is reportedly poised to approve sending Patriot missiles batteries to Ukraine as it responds to Kyiv’s urgent requests for more weapons to shoot down incoming Russian missiles.
Washington is likely to approve the plan later this week. Once given to Kyiv, the Patriot missiles would be the US’ most advanced surface-to-air missile provided to Ukraine.
The move comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Western leaders on Monday for long-range missiles, artillery, missile batteries and other high-tech air defence systems.
Ukraine’s minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba also repeated this call saying Ukraine “still needs more weapons and ammunition because the best way to protect our civilians from Russian terror is to defeat Russia,” he said.
“We need more air and missile defence systems and ammunition, armoured vehicles, primarily tracked ones.”
White House and Pentagon leaders have said that providing Ukraine with additional air defences is a priority, and Patriot missiles have been under consideration for some time.
“We will look at the full spectrum of security assistance and defensive capabilities available within our common inventories when we consider Ukraine’s needs,” Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said.
However, some people have raised concerns that the Patriot requires significant training and that US troops may need to operate the machine. President Joe Biden has previously refused to send his troops to the country.
Russian drone strikes also damaged five buildings in Kyiv on Wednesday morning. But no casualties were reported. Ukraine has recently faced a barrage of Russian air strikes against the country’s infrastructure and continued fighting in its eastern and southern regions.
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