US redirects air defence missile deliveries to Ukraine to counter Russian attacks

    WORLD  21 June 2024 - 18:26

    The Biden administration announced that it is redirecting international deliveries of air defence interceptors to Ukraine to help fend off accelerated Russian missile and drone attacks, Caliber.Az reports via foreign media.

    The deliveries of the Patriot and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) missiles were intended for other US allies, but ramped-up Russian attacks have increased the urgency of supplying them to Ukraine, said the White House.

    "We have continued to dig deep and provide Ukraine with a variety of air defence systems and interceptor missiles from our own stockpiles," according to National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby. "Many of our allies and partners have stepped up in historic ways as well. But obviously more is needed, and it's needed now. So as a result, the United States government has made the difficult but necessary decision to reprioritize near-term planned deliveries of foreign military sales to other countries of particularly Patriot and NASAMS missiles to go to Ukraine instead."

    The decision currently applies only to interceptor missiles, but the US did examine the possibility of expanding it to include air defence systems, including launchers, radars and other support equipment. The decision was made to limit it to interceptors because "we just don't have eligible systems coming off the production line," said Kirby.

    The interceptor sales to other countries are not being cancelled but will face significant delays. Affected countries have been informed of the "extraordinary step," said Kirby.

    "If any of our other partners were ever in a situation similar to Ukraine's, we would go to extraordinary lengths to support their security as well," he added. "This decision demonstrates our commitment to supporting our partners when they're in existential danger."

    Asked about the response from affected countries, Kirby said the nations were "broadly understanding of it."

    It is unclear how many nations are having their shipments delayed by the decision, or how long the delays will last, but the White House said deliveries of interceptors to Israel and Taiwan will not be affected.

    The prioritization effort is expected to last 16 months to allow Ukraine to fill out its inventories "and then after that the countries that have been asked to delay will start to get their deliveries," said Kirby.

    The first redirected shipments are expected to reach Ukraine in the coming weeks.

    Caliber.Az

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