US not considering transfer of Patriot systems to Ukraine yet, Pentagon says
Stoltenberg added the discussions were underway regarding the supply of Patriot systems to Ukraine (Photo:Khizhnikov Saveliy/Wikipedia)
The United States does not plan to provide Ukraine with the Patriot air defense systems yet, Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder said at a press briefing on Nov. 29.
At the same time, he emphasized that the United States would continue to discuss this issue.
“In terms of any type of Patriot battery from the United States right now, we have no plans to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine,” he said.
“But again, we’ll continue to have those discussions. And when and if there’s something to announce on that front, we will.”
Ryder added that air defense continues to be a top priority for the US department of Defense and for the international community when it comes to supporting Ukraine.
According to him, when it comes to air defense weapons, Ukraine needs to consider significant maintenance and training of its military personnel.
“You can’t just show up on the battlefield and start using them (weapons),” Ryder said.
“And so those are the kinds of things that are taken into account when it comes to more advanced systems. But again, I want to emphasize that we continue to consider air defense a priority. And we’ll continue to look at working with allies and partners in terms of what we can get to Ukraine as quickly as possible so that they can start employing those capabilities immediately.”
He also made it clear that each country makes its own decision on the transfer of weapons to Ukraine.
“Well, I don’t want to speak for other countries,” Ryder said.
“Certainly, that’s a sovereign decision. As it relates to NATO, I would imagine it would also be part of a NATO discussion. Again, we’re going to continue to work closely with the international community on looking at what Ukraine’s defense needs are and ensuring that they get them.”
Germany offered to send its Patriot air defense systems to Poland, after a missile fell in Polish territory near the border with Ukraine on Nov. 15 – during a massive Russian missile strike on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak asked Germany to send the Patriots to Ukraine, instead. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki supported the idea, but the matter is up to Berlin to decide.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht demurred that Patriot systems are meant to protect NATO’s airspace.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later said it is a decision to be made by individual alliance members on their own.
On Nov. 25, Błaszczak said it would be in Poland’s interest to have Patriot batteries in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Nov. 29 that the Patriot air defense systems and automatic power transformers would be major topics for Ukraine at the Nov. 29-30 NATO meeting in Bucharest, Romania.
Stoltenberg added the discussions were underway regarding the supply of Patriot systems to Ukraine.
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