U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is finalizing plans to deliver Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine, which may be announced this week, CNN reported on Dec. 13, citing three U.S. officials.
The arrangement has yet to be approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and signed by Biden, according to CNN.
The sources didn’t provide the number of missile launchers that will be sent to Ukraine, but a typical Patriot battery includes up to eight launchers, each holding four missiles.
Once the plans are finalized, the Patriots will be quickly dispatched “in the coming days,” and the Ukrainian forces will undergo training on their use at a U.S. Army base in Germany, the officials told CNN.
The training “normally takes multiple months,” they added.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked the U.S. to provide Patriot systems amid devastating Russian missile strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure.
The Biden administration had previously refused the request due to logistical challenges and difficulties in operating the systems but “the reality of what is going on the ground” changed the White House’s opinion, the CNN sources said.
The U.S. Defense Department’s spokesman Pat Ryder said on Nov. 29 that the Pentagon was discussing “a wide variety of capabilities and support with Ukraine,” including Patriot air defense systems, but didn’t intend to supply them “right now.”
If Ukraine receives Patriot missiles, it will be the most effective long-range defense system delivered by NATO members since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, CNN reported.