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US transferring Patriot from Poland to boost Ukraine’s air defenses, NYT sources say

The system could reach Ukraine in the next few days, unnamed senior officials say.
Patriot ukraine air defense
Patriot SAMs in Ukraine. Photo: Oleksiy Reznikov via X
US transferring Patriot from Poland to boost Ukraine’s air defenses, NYT sources say

The United States will send another Patriot missile battery to Ukraine to reinforce its air defenses against intensifying Russian airstrikes and missile attacks, NYT reports, citing unnamed senior US administration and military officials.

Amid escalated Russian air strikes that have crippled Ukraine’s power grid, Ukrainian officials have earlier urged allies to send additional Patriot surface-to-air missile systems. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in April that the country needs seven systems, which is “the bare minimum.” However, in order to cover the entirety of the Ukrainian airspace in the future, Kyiv will need “25 Patriot systems, with 6-8 batteries each,” according to the Ukrainian President.

According to the NYT sources, US President Biden approved the deployment of the additional Patriot system last week after a series of high-level meetings. The new battery will come from Poland, where it has been protecting a rotational US troop force that is returning home.

Considered one of America’s premier air defense weapons, the Patriot missile system includes powerful radar and mobile launchers to intercept incoming projectiles. However, it is also one of the scarcest assets in the US arsenal, officials said, with only around 14 Patriot batteries deployed globally.

The decision reportedly followed an internal debate over meeting Ukraine’s urgent need for stronger air defenses without compromising US combat readiness, according to officials. The officials said the Patriot battery could reach Ukraine in the next few days, depending on any required maintenance or modifications.

Ukraine is believed to be operating three Patriot batteries, one transferred by the US and the Netherlands, and two more by Germany. The Dutch sent a Patriot battery last year and plans to assemble and transfer one more system if partner countries will supply spare parts and ammunition. Germany has pledged to deploy its third battery by late June.

Earlier, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Pentagon leaders have urged European allies to transfer their own Patriot systems to Ukraine. According to the US Congressional Research Service, in addition to the US, 16 other countries operate Patriot systems. This includes NATO members Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Poland, and Romania, as well as non-NATO nations Japan, Korea, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

NYT says the US officials hope providing another American Patriot will encourage more allies to do the same.

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