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Zelensky: Ukraine needs more Patriot air defense systems to fully protect its airspace

by Kate Tsurkan June 2, 2023 10:08 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press briefing in Kyiv on June 2, 2023. (Photo: President's Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press briefing on June 2 that it is "very challenging" for Ukraine to receive the amount of Patriot air defense system it needs to fully protect its skies due to the waiting time to receive them.

"Our task is not 70-75% target destruction, but 100%. Yes, it is indeed an ambitious goal. It is very challenging, not only due to the waiting time for Patriot air defense systems but also for the missiles they require," Zelensky said.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine knows exactly how many Patriot systems it needs to protect its air space.

During the European Political Community in Moldova on June 1, Zelensky held meetings with the leaders of Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the European Union about creating a so-called Patriot coalition.

"The question is not whether each of these countries can provide us with this," Zelensky said, adding that it was a matter of helping Ukraine to procure the air defense system.

"Some of them have the ability to provide it, and others have different means of aiding us, including political and personal relationships with states that have the relevant missile defense systems. There are those that have finances, others that have influence," Zelensky explained.

The Patriot air defense system has played a vital role in protecting Ukrainian cities and minimizing casualties during Russian attacks.

Ukraine's Air Force confirmed in early May that it had used the Patriot air defense system to shoot down a Russian Kh-47 Kinzhal ballistic missile for the first time since the start of the full-scale invasion.

U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby announced on May 31 that the U.S. would provide Ukraine with more air defense, including additional missiles for the Patriot air defense system, in response to increased Russian attacks over the past month.

Patriot air defense faces its toughest challenge ever in Ukraine
The wait is over — after almost a year of refusals and hesitation, Western-provided MIM-104 Patriot air defense systems have finally arrived and become operational in Ukraine. On April 21 and 26, Ukraine’s Air Force confirmed the full employment of two Patriot batteries. As Ukraine’s own Soviet-er…
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