Arsenal of Democracy
Kyiv says Patriot missiles have arrived in Ukraine as U.S. announces new aid package
Two U.S.-made Patriot missile defense systems have arrived in Ukraine from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced Wednesday. "Today, our beautiful Ukrainian sky becomes more secure," he tweeted. Ukrainian air defense teams have been trained to use the advanced surface-to-air systems, which take up to 90 people to operate and maintain. "Our partners have kept their word," added Reznikov, who had been pressing the U.S. for Patriot missiles since August 2021, five months before Russian launched its full-scale invasion.
The Patriot missiles will help Ukraine protect itself from Russian attack aircraft, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles, The Associated Press reports, though "experts have cautioned that the system's effectiveness is limited and that it may not significantly change the shape of the war."
The Pentagon also announced a new $325 million military aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday, authorizing the handover of HIMARS ammunition, artillery rounds, and anti-armor capabilities, among other muntions. The upcoming shipments, the 36th presidential drawdown from U.S. inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, was announced ahead of a weekend meeting in Germany of dozens of donor countries in the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
This next tranche of donations for Ukraine will focus on replenishing Kyiv's stocks of munitions and anti-armor capabilities ahead of a widely anticipated spring counteroffensive, an unidentified Pentagon official told Politico. Classified U.S. military assessments leaked online detailed the Pentagon's concerns about dwindling Ukrainian munitions and air defense missile supplies, and its ability to regain pilfered territory. A second Pentagon official called that leak a "kind of spinning of negative information."
Yes, Ukraine "could run out of artillery ammunition — if we didn't do anything," the official told Politico. "But we are absolutely going to provide them with the ammunition, the artillery, the spare parts, the maintenance, the sustainment, the platforms that they need."