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US to redirect air defense orders to Ukraine – White House

Countries waiting for Patriot and NASAMS systems have been put on hold until Kiev’s needs are satisfied

The US will prioritize deliveries of Patriot and NASAMS batteries to Ukraine over any pending orders from other countries, in an effort to shore up Kiev’s air defenses, the White House announced on Thursday.

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby told reporters that Kiev is currently “in desperate need of additional air defence capabilities” as Russia continues to target Ukraine’s power grid ahead of the fall and winter.

At present, Kiev has at least four Patriot systems, provided by the US and Germany. Late last month, the Netherlands launched a joint initiative to deliver one more air defense battery to Ukraine, calling on several other nations to donate separate constituent parts. While Spain, Greece, Romania and Poland have Patriots at their disposal, they have so far refused to donate them to Kiev.

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has asked Western backers to deliver at least seven more Patriot units amid an intensified Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities in recent months.

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that Ukraine’s demand for interceptor missiles would take precedence until the country “has enough to defend itself from Russia’s air attacks.” The original story suggested that all other orders – both for Patriot launchers and ammunition – would be halted. However, its authors later amended the article to say the restrictions would only affect missiles.

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FILE PHOTO: US-made Patriot air defense systems
No Patriots for Ukraine – Poland

The newspaper noted that Poland, Romania and Germany all have open orders with American manufacturers for Patriot systems, with a separate outstanding contract for 1,000 missiles placed by a group of NATO member states back in January.

On Tuesday, Switzerland’s Blick newspaper reported that the US had delayed the scheduled delivery of Patriot interceptor missiles to the country, citing the Ukraine conflict as ‘force majeure’, which allows for the contract to be altered. The Swiss military later confirmed that the report was true.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Zelensky on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy last Thursday, President Biden said countries that are expecting US air defense systems would have to wait.

The US head of state explained that “everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met.”

June 20, 2024 at 10:16PM
RT

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