White House and Pentagon officials have warned that the U.S. would soon be unable to keep Ukraine’s Patriot air defense system batteries supplied with interceptor missiles, the New York Times reported on Jan. 6.
Patriot systems have been crucial for Ukraine’s air defense in repelling Russian air attacks across the country. One Patriot interceptor missile can cost from $2 million to $4 million, according to the New York Times.
Since Russia unleashed its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow has launched over 3,800 loitering munitions and 7,400 missiles across Ukraine, killing and injuring civilians, as well as damaging critical civilian infrastructure.
Among Ukraine’s range of air defense weapons, only the Patriots are designed to counter ballistic missiles. Since they arrived in Ukraine, the systems reshaped the battle for the skies, according to the report.
Ukraine downed a record number of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missiles that Russia launched against the country on Jan. 2, Ukraine's Commander in Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said. The Air Force said it had intercepted all 10 Kinzhals Russia launched on Jan. 2, using Patriot air defense systems.
If the missiles had hit their targets, the consequences would have been catastrophic, Zaluzhnyi wrote on X.
Ukraine’s Air Force reported on Dec. 31 that it had downed 15 Kinzhal missiles from May 4 until the end of 2023.