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Ukraine running out of air defense missiles, giving Russia a FREE PASS to Kyiv
By Richard Brown // Apr 17, 2024

Ukraine is facing a critical shortage of missiles for its Western air defense systems, with nearly all stockpiles of other air defense resources depleted or destroyed.

Julian Röpcke, a senior editor for security policy at Germany's top-selling newspaper Bild, said Kyiv no longer has access to Patriot and IRIS-T missiles necessary for its ground-to-air defense systems to counter Russian attacks.

Expressing frustration, Röpcke highlighted the stark contrast between the ample missile reserves in Germany's depots and Ukraine's dire situation, labeling Kyiv's airspace as vulnerable to Russian fighter jets. (Related: Ukraine running out of tanks as military struggles to repair machinery damaged by Russia.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented the inability of their ground troops to intercept all incoming cruise missiles during a recent Russian assault, emphasizing the urgent need for enhanced military support from NATO allies.

Zelensky urged for additional air defense systems and missiles, particularly to safeguard cities like Kharkiv from ongoing Russian attacks, which he denounced as deliberate acts of terror.

The dwindling supply of air defense resources coincides with waning enthusiasm from U.S. lawmakers for further military aid, with a $60 billion package stalled in the House of Representatives.

General Christopher Cavoli, the U.S. commander of European Command, emphasized the critical role of U.S. support in sustaining Ukraine's defense capabilities, warning of dire consequences if assistance is not provided promptly.

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Germany to the rescue

In a related development, Zelensky announced Germany's commitment to supply a U.S.-made Patriot air defense system and missiles amid escalating tensions and increased Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The recent bombardment of power stations and substations by Russian forces has left Kyiv urgently seeking advanced air defense capabilities.

Expressing appreciation for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's decision, Zelenskyy emphasized the critical timing of the support as Ukraine faces relentless assaults. He called on leaders of other partner states to emulate Germany's proactive stance in assisting Ukraine's defense efforts.

This latest delivery adds to the ongoing efforts to bolster Ukraine's air defense capabilities, with Germany previously supplying various armaments to aid in Ukraine's defense against Russian aggression. According to a German government summary released on April 10, two Patriot systems have already been delivered, marking this as the third such delivery from Germany.

Zelensky's call for 25 U.S.-made Patriot air defense systems highlights the magnitude of Ukraine's defense needs in the face of Russian military aggression.

Germany's shift from its traditional pacifist stance to becoming a significant military aid provider underscores the gravity of the situation and the international community's response to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression.

What is the Patriot system?

The MIM-104 Patriot (Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept On Target) system serves as the primary air and missile defense system for the U.S. Army.

Initially designed for anti-aircraft purposes, the latest versions of the Patriot system are capable of detecting, targeting, and tracking ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft.

Development of the Patriot system began in the early 1960s to replace the Nike Hercules and Hawk air defense missile systems.

Initially named Surface-to-Air Missile, Development (SAM-D), the program underwent testing in 1969 and 1970. In the 1970s, the Department of Defense upgraded SAM-D to include a Track-Via-Missile (TVM) guidance system. Renamed Patriot, the updated system entered full production in 1980, with the Army activating its first Patriot missile battalion in May 1982.

According to Raytheon Missiles and Defense, the company responsible for designing and manufacturing the Patriot, the system has been utilized by five nations in over 250 combat engagements since its field activation in 1982. Raytheon has delivered more than 240 Patriot systems to 17 nations.

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More related stories:

Ukraine will JOIN NATO, Blinken announces, signaling imminent WWIII with Russia.

Ukraine warns its frontlines could COLLAPSE at any time as generals fear severe losses from upcoming Russian offensive.

Ukraine’s starting to get dangerous.

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