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US new USD 1.85 bn aid package to Ukraine includes first-ever Patriot air defense system

A launcher of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system. File photo: Wikimedia Commons.
US new USD 1.85 bn aid package to Ukraine includes first-ever Patriot air defense system

(Updated)Today, the White House has announced a significant new package of $1.8d billion of security assistance for Ukraine, which will contain a Patriot missile battery, State Secretary Anthony Blinken informed.

Today’s assistance for the first time includes the Patriot Air Defense System, capable of bringing down cruise missiles, short range ballistic missiles, and aircraft at a significantly higher ceiling than previously provided air defense systems,” State Secretary Anthony Blinken said.

A Patriot missile battery includes eight launchers. Patriots can shoot down ballistic missiles, which is a capability Ukraine’s air defense currently lacks. Ukraine desperately needs to strengthen its air defense system in the face of Russian massive missile strikes.

Patriot air defense system “will be a critical asset to defend the Ukrainian people against Russia’s barbaric attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. We will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the Patriot missile battery in a third country. This will take some time, but Ukrainian troops will take that training back to their country to operate this battery. And we will continue to prioritize other forms of air defense support as well, including NASAMS, HAWKs, Stingers, and counter-UAV equipment,” the White House announced in the official statement on 20 December 2022.

State Secretary Anthony Blinken stated that he is authorizing tbe United States’ 28th drawdown of arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.

This $1 billion drawdown will provide Ukraine with expanded air defense and precision-strike capabilities, as well as additional munitions and critical equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself on the battlefield,” he stated.

The Department of Defense is also announcing an additional $850 million of security assistance for Ukraine today under its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Apart from military aid, a package of more than $40 billion of funding for Ukraine for 2023 will be passed by the US Congress, according to the White House.

Russia continues launching missile barrages and kamikaze drones to destroy critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and cut millions of Ukrainians off from water supply, electricity, and heating during the cold winter. Currently, almost half of the Ukrainian energy system is out of order due to Russian missile strikes, according to Ukraine’s PM Denys Shmyhal.

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