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A Patriot anti-aircraft missile system launcher stands at the air base on June 17, 2023, in Bavaria, Germany. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The U.S. is to prioritize deliveries of air defense missiles to Ukraine over orders from other countries, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on June 20.

"The United States government has made the difficult but necessary decision to reprioritize near-term planned deliveries of foreign military sales to other countries, particularly Patriot and NASAMS missiles, to go to Ukraine instead," he said in comments reported by AFP.

Comments from U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month strongly suggested such a move was on the table.

"We let it be known to those countries that are expecting from us air defense systems in the future that they're going to have to wait," Biden said after signing a 10-year security deal with President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy on June 13.

"Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met.  And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries."

In a post on social media on June 20, Zelensky thanked President Biden for the latest decision.

"The partnership between Ukraine and the United States is strong and unwavering. Together, we are protecting life against terror and aggression," he said.

Also on June 20, Romania announced that it would transfer a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.

Kyiv received its first Patriot battery from Washington in the first half of 2023, and since then, the most advanced U.S. anti-air system has proved crucial in Ukraine's defense of its sky. Germany has also delivered two of its systems, and the third one is on its way.

Ukraine has been calling on its partners to provide additional air defenses as Russia intensifies its strikes against Ukrainian population centers and infrastructure. Patriot systems are highly effective at intercepting Russia's ballistic and cruise missiles.

Poland, Romania, and Germany are among the European countries with open orders for Patriot systems yet to be supplied, and Spain has orders for Patriot launchers.

American missiles for the Patriots manufactured for Switzerland are to be delivered to Ukraine despite contractual obligations, the Swiss outlet Blick reported, citing undisclosed sources.

On June 13, the U.S. denied reports that it is planning to deliver another Patriot battery to Ukraine.

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