Ukraine Is Getting Patriot Missiles: Defense Officials Confirm Ukrainian Soldiers Will Train On U.S. Soil – Following speculation that Ukrainian soldiers will be trained to use the Patriot air defense system on American soil, three U.S. defense officials revealed this week that Ukrainian soldiers will, in fact, be flown to the United States to be taught how to use the advanced missile systems.
Citing unnamed officials on Tuesday, CNN first revealed plans for Ukrainian soldiers to be trained at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The plans were later confirmed by Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, said that up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers would arrive in Oklahoma as soon as next week.
It remains unclear how long the training process will take, though Ryder suggested on Tuesday that it would take “several months.”
“Once fielded, the Patriot will contribute to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities, and provide another capability to the Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia’s ongoing aerial assaults,” Ryder said.
The suggestion that Ukrainian soldiers could spend several months training in the United States, with training starting as soon as next week, suggests that soldiers could be ready to use the systems by the spring. Russian forces are also widely expected to launch a new offensive when the winter ends, indicating that U.S. officials may be preparing the Ukrainians to more effectively counter that expected offensive.
Newly-trained Ukrainian soldiers will return to Ukraine to impart their knowledge to other Ukrainian soldiers, just in time for the arrival of Patriot missiles and missile systems.
When Will Patriot Missiles Arrive?
Patriot missiles were promised to Ukraine by the Biden administration in an almost $2 billion military aid package revealed on Wednesday, December 21.
“This is a very important step to create a secure base for Ukraine and that’s the only way we will be able to deprive the terrorist country and their terror attacks [on] our energy sector, our people and our infrastructure.”
U.S. officials have so far not offered a specific timeline for the delivery of the Patriot systems, though they could technically arrive any time between January and the spring.
Given security concerns and the fact that training could take several months to complete, however, it would be safe to bet that Patriot battery systems and missiles will arrive sometime in the spring.
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.