US Pentagon delegation reviewed Ukraine’s air defense needs during December visit

11 January 2022, 12:24 AM

During a recent visit to Ukraine, a U.S. military delegation assessed what the country needs to bolster its air defense systems, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said at a briefing on Jan. 10. 

“They, roughly speaking, looked at air defense and missile defense, as I understand it,” said Kirby.

“They looked and consulted with the Ukrainians about how they see their defense needs,” the spokesperson said.

Kirby declined to comment on the possibility that the United States might supply Stinger portable air defense systems to Ukraine. However, he insisted that the United States would continue to help Ukraine secure its defense needs.

Video of day

On Jan. 7, U.S. news broadcaster NBC reported that, according to its sources among former and current U.S. officials, the United States was working with other NATO members to arrange for the delivery of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as requested by Ukraine.

The Stinger surface-to-air missiles could help Ukraine’s military defend the country against attacks by Russian helicopters and drones. The Biden administration has also prepared a new military aid package for Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that it has raised the issue of providing Stingers to Ukraine.

Since late October, Russia has been deploying troops to the Ukrainian border and the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, leading various media outlets to speculate on a further Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 by around 175,000 Russian troops.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and EU officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, previously stated that the Ukrainian government deemed the threat of a direct Russian invasion unlikely. However, in early December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.

Russia has denied any plans of a large-scale invasion, despite issuing on Dec. 17 a list of contentious security demands, termed “security guarantees”, to the United States and NATO. One of the key demands is to ban Ukraine from joining NATO.

U.S. and Russian officials held face-to-face talks on these so-called “security guarantees” on Jan. 10. The NATO-Russia Council and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are also scheduled to meet with Russian delegations later this week.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news