This week the Biden Administration has been finalizing plans to send the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to Ukraine.
The Pentagon’s plan will still need to be approved by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin before it is sent to the president’s desk for final signoff, but approval could be announced this week.
The ongoing strikes have led to vast swaths of the country being left without electricity or running water.
The MIM-104 Patriot would be the most effective long-range defensive weapon platform sent to aid Ukraine, while U.S. officials said it could help secure the airspace and thus protect NATO nations in Eastern Europe.
What are Patriot Missiles?
The Patriot system was developed in the 1970s to counter Soviet missiles. It uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems. The MIM-104 gained prestige during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 with the claimed engagement of over 40 Iraqi Scud missiles. It is now employed by the armed forces of several NATO members including the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Greece, and Spain; as well as with the militaries of Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Qatar.
The Patriot is expected to remain in operation until at least 2040.
Russia’s Response: Fair Game!
The Kremlin has already fired back that it would view the missile-defense system as a legitimate target if it is supplied to Ukraine.
Moreover, Russia signaled that it would not intend to cease its missile strikes even in the face of such superior weaponry.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that any Patriot batteries would absolutely be fair game for a strike.
“Certainly,” Peskov responded when asked whether the Kremlin shared the point of view expressed by Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council that these systems would become legitimate targets.
“I would refrain from comment for now, though, because these are just media reports. Nowadays, media reports are an unreliable thing. Let us wait for some official information,” Peskov added.
Dragging Out the War?
Russian officials have also expressed frustration that Ukraine has only been able to hold out during the past 10 months of the war because of the weaponry, logistics, and general military support that it is receiving from the U.S. and other NATO members.
The Kremlin has even suggested that western aid, including large-scale arms supplies to Kyiv, would only drag out the conflict in Ukraine and hinder the possibility of a negotiated settlement to the conflict, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call earlier this month that “the destructive policy of Western countries…pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and training the Ukrainian military…as well as their comprehensive political and financial support for Ukraine, leads Kyiv to reject any idea of negotiations.”
Perhaps if Russia were to stop the fighting, peace talks could occur.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.