Pentagon to Expedite Patriot Missiles to Ukraine Amid Escalating Conflict

In response to the intensifying conflict with Russia, the Pentagon has announced plans to swiftly deploy Patriot air defense missiles and artillery ammunition to Ukraine as part of a new military aid package.

However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin clarified that while the missiles and ammunition would be rushed, the Patriot systems for launching the missiles would not be included.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized the urgent need for Patriots to counter the increasing Russian air threat, asserting that they could save lives immediately. The urgency of the situation was underscored by reports of another massive air attack by Russia, resulting in damage to a hospital in Kharkiv and energy facilities in multiple regions.

German soldier drives an M983 HEMTT carrying a Patriot launcher module part of the US-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system on an open field on February 18, 2023, in Zamosc, Poland. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The assault reportedly involved cruise missiles, S-300 surface-to-air missiles, and Iskander ballistic missiles, with Ukraine claiming to have downed 21 enemy aircraft using various defense systems. Additionally, Ukrainian forces purportedly struck two Russian oil refineries, although the extent of the damage remains disputed.

In a press conference, Secretary Austin outlined the US commitment to its largest security assistance package to date, utilizing $6 billion of a $60 billion aid package recently signed into law by President Joe Biden. This aid encompasses air defense munitions, counter-drone systems, and artillery ammunition, but notably excludes Patriot missile systems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky highlights the critical need for Patriot missiles amidst reports of devastating Russian air attacks, as damage to vital infrastructure escalates. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency via Getty Images)

General Charles Brown, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserted that the assistance package should alleviate the need for Ukrainian forces to ration shells on the frontline. Furthermore, efforts are underway to bolster Ukraine’s defense industry, enabling domestic production of essential ammunition.

Secretary Austin cautioned against viewing Patriots as a panacea, stressing the importance of various defense capabilities. He expressed confidence that more missile systems would become available to Ukraine through ongoing conversations with European partners.

Secretary Austin announces historic US security assistance package, allocating $6 billion from a $60 billion aid bill signed by President Biden. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Highlighting the broader implications of the conflict, Secretary Austin warned of the severe security threat posed to Europe and the United States if Russia prevails in Ukraine. He acknowledged that the aid delivery process would take time but assured that it would significantly enhance Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

As Ukraine faces heightened attacks on its railways, there are concerns that Moscow aims to disrupt military logistics. Despite challenges in acquiring additional Patriots, efforts from European allies such as Germany and Spain are contributing to bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

Amid escalating tensions and urgent appeals for assistance, the swift deployment of defensive resources underscores the gravity of the situation and the commitment of Western allies to support Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.

Arit Saha
Arit Saha
Arit Saha, an Economics graduate and budding content writer in Kolkata, deftly merges his passions for economics and global politics. He crafts engaging content weaving economic insights into geopolitical narratives. Contact: [email protected]
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