Kiev Urges US to Put Patriot Missile Systems in Ukraine Instead of Poland

The Biden administration ramped up the delivery of military aid to Ukraine in early March, committing $125 million for patrol boats, counter-artillery radar, and satellite intelligence assistance. Weeks after the aid was announced, militia forces in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions sounded the alarm about a possible new offensive by Kiev.

Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, has urged the US to deploy its Patriot missile systems in Ukraine, instead of Poland, to ‘defend the West’ against Russia.

Zelensky himself recently urged NATO to speed up Ukraine’s accession to the bloc, telling alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg last week that “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass,” and that Ukraine’s NATO membership action plan would “be a real signal for Russia,” whom he accused of ongoing “aggression.”

NATO’s membership rules do not allow for any country suffering from civil conflict or external territorial disputes to join the alliance until these disputes are resolved.

The US plans to begin the deployment of two batteries of Patriots in Poland in 2022, with Warsaw purchasing the systems for $5.5 billion. The Patriot deal was reached in 2018 after years of delays, and caused a minor political scandal amid reports that Warsaw would be paying significantly more than Romania had for its Patriots. Local defence observers also complained that the systems wouldn’t actually dramatically improve…

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