Zelenskyy says he’s personally overseeing transfer of Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine
Launch installation of the Patriot air defense system (Photo:Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michelle Larche/defense.gov)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is personally overseeing the transfer of U.S. Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine.
In an interview with French television channels TF1 and LCI on Dec. 18, asked about the weapons Ukraine needs partner countries to provide, he again underscored the country’s great need for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses.
Zelenskyy mentioned the agreements on the Crotale missile defense systems from France (not yet operational), NASAMS from the United States, Iris-T from Germany and the ongoing “fight” to secure SAMP/T – the provision of which depends on decisions by Italy and France.
The Ukrainian president said he was in constant touch with U.S. President Joe Biden about the Patriot missile defense systems.
According to Zelenskyy, the system provides “a (better) distance, radius of reflection, protection.”
“The process (of provision of Patriot to Ukraine) is underway,” he said.
“I’m personally dealing with this.,” Zelesnkyy said.
“It’s very necessary for us. And everything that we’re personally doing in Ukraine is getting closer to the result. It’s important to me. It’s to do with my relationship with President Biden.”
Zelenskyy added that he considers this issue “with great positivity.”
During a phone talk with Biden on Dec. 11, Zelenskyy called on him to increase aid so as to strengthen and expand the effectiveness of Ukraine’s air defenses.
Commenting on reports of the possible transfer of Patriot systems to the country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “there is some information, but we left (the right to disclose this information) to the White House.”
According to Kuleba, the Patriot question is the most complicated issue that Zelenskyy’s diplomatic team has yet dealt with.
U.S. television channel CNN reported on Dec. 13 that the Biden administration is was finalizing a plan to supply at least one Patriot battery to Ukraine, which may be announced later that week (by Dec. 18.)
An unnamed U.S. Department of Defense official later confirmed these reports.
No formal announcement by the White House has yet been made, however.
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