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Ambassador: Providing Ukraine with air defense 'key priority' for Washington

by Martin Fornusek August 11, 2023 6:52 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova during a news conference with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Photo credit: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The Biden administration is working actively to ensure that Ukraine has sufficient air defense capabilities to defend itself, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova said in an interview with LB.ua on Aug. 11.

"This (air defense) is one of the main priorities for the United States, on which the entire administration is actively working," Markarova said.

"There are many nuances: the question of production, the availability of the current systems, and the willingness of other countries to provide us with systems that are already in service."

Washington is negotiating both with allied countries and private manufacturers to ensure further supplies for Kyiv, the ambassador added.

Markarova named the provision of advanced air defense systems such as Patriots, NASAMS, or IRIS-T and their munitions as the priority for Ukrainian diplomats in the U.S. Other key goals include artillery and aircraft, including planes, helicopters, and drones, she said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal warned that Russia will likely attempt to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure during the following winter, as it tried to do in the winter of 2022-2023.

According to Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine's Presidential Office, Ukraine needs at least 10 to 12 Patriot batteries to protect the entire country from Russian strikes.

Markarova also commented on the shifting mood among the U.S. expert community since the start of the full-scale invasion. According to her, there are much fewer voices now arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin has to have an opportunity to "save his face."

However, the idea that Russia must be stopped at all costs is still not a prevalent opinion in the U.S., she added. The ambassador emphasized that Ukrainian diplomatic staff is working to convince Washington to focus its efforts on direct support for Ukraine rather than waiting for Putin's reactions.

Pentagon: US to further increase 155 mm ammunition production
The U.S. plans to increase its production of 155 mm shells, bringing it to 80,000 per month next year, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Aug. 10. The statement comes amid Ukraine’s growing need for NATO-standard ammunition, which is used with West-provided artillery.
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