Close this search box.

U.S. Announces New Patriot Missiles For Ukraine As Part Of $6 Billion Aid Package

The U.S. will provide Ukraine additional Patriot missiles for its air defense systems as part of a massive $6 billion additional aid package, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Friday.

The missiles will be used to replenish previously supplied Patriot air defense systems and are part of a package that also includes more munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, and additional gear to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars into Ukraine’s existing weaponry, much of which still dates back to previous Soviet-era systems.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kyiv needs Patriot missiles to create an air shield against further Russian missile attacks, and it’s likely he’ll get them in an additional $6 billion aid package expected to be announced by the U.S. as soon as Friday.

Zelenskyy discussed the need for Patriots early Friday at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a coalition of about 50 countries gathering virtually in a Pentagon-led meeting. His address marked the second anniversary of the group, which has “moved heaven and earth” since April 2022 to source millions of rounds of ammunition, rocket systems, armored vehicles and even jets to help Ukraine rebuff Russia’s invasion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the meeting.

The meeting was expected to focus largely on air defense systems, Austin said.

Zelenskyy said at least seven Patriot systems are needed to protect Ukrainian cities. “We urgently need Patriot systems and missiles for them,” Zelenskyy said. “This is what can and should save lives right now.”

U.S. officials said the aid package will be funded through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which pays for longer-term contracts with the defense industry and means that it could take many months or years for the weapons to arrive. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet made public.

The new funding — the largest tranche of USAI aid sent to date — will include a wide array of munitions for air defense, such as the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System, or NASAM, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, as well as the Patriot munitions, Switchblade and Puma drones, counter drone systems and artillery.

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group has been meeting about monthly for the past two years and is the primary forum for weapons contributions to Kyiv for the war.

Friday’s meeting follows the White House decision earlier this week to approve the delivery of $1 billion in weapons and equipment to Ukraine. Those weapons include a variety of ammunition, such as air defense munitions and large amounts of artillery rounds that are much in demand by Ukrainian forces, as well as armored vehicles and other weapons.

That aid, however, will get to Ukraine quickly because it is being pulled off Pentagon shelves, including in warehouses in Europe.

The large back-to-back packages are the result of the new infusion of about $61 billion in funding for Ukraine that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on Wednesday. And they provide weapons Kyiv desperately needs to stall gains being made by Russian forces in the war.

Bitterly divided members of Congress deadlocked over the funding for months, forcing House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., to cobble together a bipartisan coalition to pass the bill. The $95 billion foreign aid package, which also included billions of dollars for Israel and Taiwan, passed the House on Saturday, and the Senate approved it Tuesday.

Senior U.S. officials have described dire battlefield conditions in Ukraine, as troops run low on munitions and Russian forces make gains.

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, the U.S. has sent more than $44 billion worth of weapons, maintenance, training and spare parts to Ukraine.

Among the weapons provided to Ukraine were Abrams M1A1 battle tanks. But Ukraine has now sidelined them in part because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack, two U.S. military officials told The Associated Press.


Leave a Reply

Popular Posts