US to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine

The US has announced that it is sending the Patriot missile system to Ukraine to counter Russian cruise missile and kamikaze drone strikes.

The announcement was made as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington for talks with President Joe Biden on December 21 – his first overseas visit since the Russian invasion on February 24.

The same day US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he was authorising the 28th drawdown of US arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.

The Army test fires a Patriot missile in a recent test. The Patriot missile system is a ground-based, mobile missile defense interceptor deployed by the United States to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, and short-range and tactical ballistic missiles.
The Army test fires a Patriot missile in a recent test. The Patriot missile system is a ground-based, mobile missile defense interceptor deployed by the United States to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, and short-range and tactical ballistic missiles. US Army Security Assistance Command

This $1bn drawdown will provide Ukraine with expanded air defence and precision-strike capabilities, as well as additional munitions and critical equipment that Ukraine is using so on the battlefield.

Blinken said: “The Department of Defense is also announcing an additional $850m of security assistance for Ukraine today under its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

“Today’s assistance for the first time includes the Patriot Air Defence System, capable of bringing down cruise missiles, short range ballistic missiles, and aircraft at a significantly higher ceiling than previously provided air defence systems.”

The latest announcement means that during 2022 US military assistance for Ukraine has reached a total of $21.9bn from the Biden administration.

This has included the supply of more than 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems; missiles for HAWK air defence systems; 20 Mi-17 Hip helicopters; 1,800 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems; 15 ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Systems; and 10 air surveillance radars.