Biden Administration Finalizes Ukraine Patriot Missile Defense System Plan

Jasmine Judge, Business Manager

Currently, President Joe Biden’s administration is finalizing a plan to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to help intercept ballistic and cruise missile attacks launched by Russia. Before being sent to Biden for his final signature, the plan requires formal approval from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Heavy bombardment by Russian missile and drone attacks has led Ukraine to plead with the United States to send a long range-air defense system. These attacks have significantly damaged Ukrainian energy infrastructure, and by accepting this weapons system, Ukraine would have the most effective defense against the Russians. In return, it would secure airspace in eastern Europe for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations. 

Once approved, officials say that the Patriots are expected to leave within the coming days for a U.S. army base in Germany. There, they will teach Ukrainians how to use the defense system, which requires a large crew and dozens of personnel. Normally, Patriot missile battery training takes several months; however, under the pressure of frequent Russian aerial attacks, the U.S. must carry out the process in haste.

Over the past several decades, more than a dozen U.S. allies such as Germany, Japan and Israel have purchased Patriot missile defenses. Since Feb. 24, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with $19.3 billion in military assistance. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO that providing Ukraine with this system will be viewed as an aggressive move. Nonetheless, the announcement of the plan’s dispatch is expected to come in the following days.