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Putin Next Ukraine Problem: Ukraine Has Big Air Defense Plans

TOS-1 in Ukraine
Image: Creative Commons.

Zelenskyy Teases New “Agreements” To Strengthen Air Defenses – Following reports that the United States is preparing to supply Ukraine with Patriot missile systems, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Wednesday that his government is “preparing agreements” to improve air defenses.

In his address, Zelenskyy first thanked the 96th anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force for shooting down 13 Iranian-made Shahed drones in the Kyiv region.

“The skies of the Kyiv region are defended by the 96th anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Air Force. Thank you guys!” Zelenskyy said. “A total of 13 Shaheds were shot down. These are 13 saved infrastructure objects, these are saved lives. In one morning.”

Photographs of Ukrainian forces responding to news of the attempted drone strikes were shared by the Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces (TDF), showing ground-based units monitoring the skies and firing at the attack drones as the Air force worked to destroy the drones before they could strike their intended targets.

This morning the mobile fire team of the 241 Kyiv TDF Brigade’s air defense platoon departed on combat alert to repulse the Russian “Shahed” drone attack.,” Ukraine’s TDF wrote, adding that all 13 were destroyed.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also responded to the attempted strikes, accusing Russia of feeling “confident only when attacking peaceful cities.”

The attempted strikes underscore a significant problem for Ukraine, in that its soldiers must now constantly fight against a torrent of incoming missile and drone strikes while also continuing progress reclaiming territories previously captured by the Russians.

Russia may be buying time in preparation for another offensive in the new year, as the spring approaches and the ice begins to melt, but may also be forcing Ukraine to expend as much ammunition as possible in the meantime. That’s presumably why Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian government officials have spent so much time lobbying for more air defense systems – and also presumably why the U.S. and Western countries appear increasingly willing to send long-range missiles to the country.

What Zelenskyy Said

In his Wednesday night address, Zelenskyy said that he met with government and military officials the same day to discuss “protection of the sky.”

He said that Ukraine is constantly strengthening its air defense and anti-drone defense, and “doing everything to get more modern and more powerful systems for Ukraine.”

“This week we have made important progress on the air defense issue,” he continued.

While the Ukrainian president didn’t divulge any further details, it suggests that the rumored plans for the White House to send Patriot systems are likely true and that other European nations may follow suit in delivering more advanced missile systems.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.