UNITED STATES: The United States is finalising plans to send sophisticated Patriot air defence missiles to Ukraine.
The news broke as explosions shook Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in the most recent of a string of assaults by Russia. Since October, Moscow has regularly attacked the energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
Kyiv has been requesting more air defence assistance for some time to tackle Russian missiles and drone attacks that have wreaked havoc on the nation’s energy infrastructure and left millions without heat in the bitterly cold winter.
Following approval of the plan, the systems would probably be delivered in the next few days, the authorities said, and Ukrainian soldiers would be trained to use them at a US Army installation in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
For Kyiv, acquiring Patriot air defence capacity would be “very, very significant,” said former Army lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman, who once oversaw Ukraine policy at the White House.
Meanwhile, NATO has been warned against supplying Ukraine with Patriot missile defences by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The Patriot systems provided by Washington to Kyiv would make them valid military targets, said Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.
Patriot is a ground-based air defence system made by Raytheon Technology Corp. that is designed to stop incoming missiles. It is considered one of the most sophisticated US air defence systems, which is usually in limited supply and has a high demand among its allies worldwide.
Patriot came into use in the 1980s, and since then, the system has been purchased by more than a dozen nations and is used by US allies in Europe and the Pacific, as well as Saudi Arabia.
Since 2015, Patriot has undergone more than 3,000 ground tests and 1,400 air tests. Additionally, it has successfully intercepted over 150 ballistic missiles in live combat, a primary contractor, Raytheon, says. Each missile costs roughly $3 million (£2.4 million).
A typical Patriot system consists of up to eight launchers, each storing four ready-to-fire missiles, computers, power-generating apparatus, an engagement control centre, and a radar complex that detects and tracks targets.
The missile system is used to counter sophisticated threats like aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.
A large crew is required to run and maintain the battery, which has a missile launcher, a command and control center, a radar, and various support vehicles. The quantity of batteries that will be delivered to Ukraine is unknown.