US finalizing plans to send Patriot system to Ukraine: CNN
Three US officials tell CNN that the administration of US President Joe Biden is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine.
Two United States officials and a senior administration official revealed that Pentagon is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as this week, CNN reported on Tuesday.
The plan needs to be approved by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before it is sent to President Joe Biden for his signature, with the three officials telling CNN that approval is expected.
For months, the Kiev regime has been calling on Washington to send the highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles.
In late November, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadaire General Pat Ryder said the US has no plans "to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine but again, we’ll continue to have those discussions." The statement came on the same day that another senior Defense Department official stated that the United States is considering sending Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine.
Should the plan be approved, the Patriot "would be the most effective long-range defensive weapons system sent to the country and officials say it will help secure airspace for NATO nations in eastern Europe," according to CNN.
It pointed out that "it is not clear how many missile launchers will be sent but a typical Patriot battery includes a radar set that detects and tracks targets, computers, power generating equipment, an engagement control station and up to eight launchers, each holding four ready to fire missiles."
The media cited officials as saying that "once the plans are finalized, the Patriots are expected to ship quickly in the coming days and Ukrainians will be trained to use them at a US Army base in Grafenwoehr, Germany."
The senior administration official told CNN that "the reality of what is going on the ground" led the Biden administration to take the decision."
According to CNN, "Patriot missile batteries need much larger crews, requiring dozens of personnel to properly operate them. The training for Patriot missile batteries normally takes multiple months."
It explained that "because of its long-range and high-altitude capability, it can potentially shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their intended targets inside Ukraine."
In November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN that the US and many other countries are "very focused" on providing air defense systems to Ukraine.
He indicated that "we’re working to make sure that the Ukrainians get those systems as quickly as possible but also as effectively as possible, making sure that they are trained on them, making sure they have the ability to maintain them and all of that has to come together and it is."
Berlin refuses Patriot supplies to Kiev
It is noteworthy that in early December, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Germany refused a request by Ukraine to supply it with Patriot air defense systems and will be sending them to Poland as previously planned.
Earlier in November, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked Berlin to supply his country with the US anti-missile system rather than sending them to Poland.
Germany offered to supply Poland with several batteries from its Patriot missile defense system after two Poles died when two missiles, believed to be Ukrainian, fell on the village of Przewodów in the Lubelskie Voivodeship near the border with Ukraine on November 15.
Polish President Andrzej Duda tweeted then that the Patriot missiles offered to Poland by Germany should be sent to Ukraine because it makes sense from a military point of view.
However, Duda added that "if Germany does not agree that the system could be installed in Ukraine, then Poland should accept it."