Ukraine boost for fight against Putin as US to send Patriot missiles

Ukraine: Bridge in Melitopol shows signs of damage

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The US is expected to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine in order to help short down long-range Russian missiles. It comes months after Kyiv requested the defence system to help in the ongoing war with Russia.

According to US officials a formal announcement is expected in the coming days, possibly as early as Thursday.

However the plan still needs final approval from US President Joe Biden along with US Defence secretary Lloyd Austin.

Once the agreement is signed off as expected the state of the art defence system will be shipped to Germany, where Ukrainian troops will be trained in its use.

It comes after a call on Sunday between President Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, when the deployment of the weapons was discussed.

The deployment of the weapons has become a matter of urgency for Kyiv after Moscow launched an onslaught of long range missiles at the Ukrainian capital and other cities around the country several weeks ago.

These Russian attacks combined with drone attacks have severely damaged Ukrainian infrastructure.

Speaking to CNN last month, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that Washington and its key allies were “very focused” on providing air defence systems for Ukraine.

He said: “We’re working to make sure that the Ukrainians get those systems as quickly as possible, but also as effectively as possible, making sure that they are trained on them, making sure they have the ability to maintain them — and all of that has to come together.

“We have a very deliberate process established . . . in Ramstein, Germany, that meets regularly to make sure that the Ukrainians are getting what they need, when they need it.”

The Patriot missiles will be separate from a $275 million (£222.75 million) package of US military assistance for Ukraine announced on Friday.

During the call between the two leaders on Sunday Mr Zelensky thanked Mr Biden for Washington’s “unprecedented” support during the Russian invasion, which has now entered it’s tenth month.

The Patriot system will be the most advanced weapons system that Washington has sent Kyiv since the beginning of the conflict.

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Although Patriots are more effective than other defensive missile systems, they do require large crews to operate them and training can take months.

Kyiv will hope that once the Patriots are in place they will limit Moscow’s ability to hit targets using missiles fired from within Russia itself and Russian controlled Ukrainian territory.

Washington will hope that the weapons will act as a deterrent in case Moscow still has any ambitions to attempt to capture large swaths of Ukraine.

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