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US has no Patriots to spare for Ukraine – White House

American air defense capabilities are stretched around the globe, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has claimed

Washington is not willing to risk undermining its own security, but the US government is working around the clock to pressure the EU, NATO and other partners to share their air defense capabilities with Kiev instead, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said.

Addressing the virtual meeting of the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Friday, President Vladimir Zelensky demanded “at least seven” Patriot batteries from his sponsors, but Kiev’s main backer allegedly has none to spare.

“The US Patriot systems right now are being deployed around the world, including in the Middle East, to protect US troops,” Sullivan told MSNBC later in the day.

“If we can unlock further American Patriot batteries we would send them. But we are doing a lot of the supplying of the actual missiles that go into those batteries that get fired,” the US official insisted.

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FILE PHOTO: A Patriot air defense system at the airport of Rzeszow-Jasionka, Poland.
EU state says it won’t give missile systems to Ukraine

The Pentagon has indeed pledged additional Patriot munitions as part of a “historic” $6bn assistance package announced on Friday. However, the interceptors could take months or even years to arrive, as the batch will not come from the existing Pentagon stockpiles and the announcement “represents the beginning of a contracting process” with the US defense industry.

A single MIM-104 Patriot battery, which is manufactured by US arms giant Raytheon, costs over $1 billion, and consists of multiple truck-mounted units, including power, radar, antenna, engagement control and other support vehicles – as well as up to eight launchers with interceptor missiles.

The US produced over 1,100 Patriot launchers over the years and is estimated to have hundreds of them in active service and in storage – but only sent a single battery to Ukraine. Two more full batteries were donated by Germany, while the Netherlands shared two launchers.

“In the meantime what we’re gonna do is work with European partners and partners in other parts of the world to get them to provide additional air defense capability to Ukraine,” Sullivan added.

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FILE PHOTO: Patriot missile systems.
Spain buckling to EU pressure on Patriots for Ukraine – El Pais

Besides Germany and the Netherlands – Poland, Spain, Greece and Romania are also among European nations that operate the Patriot systems. While Berlin recently promised to supply yet another Patriot battery to Ukraine, Warsaw said earlier this week that it has no air defense systems to spare. 

Spain said it will only provide air defense missiles to Kiev, but not the actual systems. Greece also rejected the pressure, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying that no action would be taken “that could even remotely endanger our nation’s deterrent capabilities or air defense.”

April 27, 2024 at 05:20AM
RT

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