What the U.S.'s sending Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine means for Putin's war

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  14 comments

By:   Patrick Smith

What the U.S.'s sending Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine means for Putin's war
The United States' imminent approval of Patriot missile defense systems for Ukraine will be a blow to Putin's war and a timely boost for Kyiv.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



The likely imminent approval of U.S. advanced air defense systems for Ukraine could offer a much-needed boost for its forces and a timely show of support from its allies as the country endures a long and difficult winter.

Washington is poised to satisfy Kyiv's long-held and repeated request by sending Patriot missile systems, fulfilling its promise to further bolster Ukraine's ability to thwart repeated Russian attacks on both its military sites and civilian infrastructure.

Approval of the plan by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is likely to come later this week, with an announcement possible as early as Thursday, three U.S. officials told NBC News.

The system will not only give Ukraine vital new strength to defend its cities against missile attacks, but it also illustrates that the Kremlin's grinding effort has done little to erode Western support for Kyiv's cause, military analysts said. After a flurry of stunning Ukrainian victories on the ground, the news also hints at a recognition that conditions have shifted the war's focus to the air as winter has set in.Patriot — the U.S. armed forces' main surface-to-air weapon, which is also used across the world — is an acronym describing how its targeting system works for Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target.

Patriot systems typically require crews of up to 90 to undergo at least 10 weeks of training, although as few as three soldiers can fire it if necessary, the U.S. Army has said, and Ukrainian armed forces have previously defied expectations in terms of how quickly their troops have learned to use Western weaponry.

Ukraine's bitter winter is being felt across the country, with many areas without power or heating after bombardment by Russian forces destroyed power plants, lines and substations. Temperatures were set to reach as low as 21 degree Fahrenheit on Wednesday night in the capital.

The cold weather and the onset of thick mud, a notable obstacle for the invading Russian vehicles at the start of the war in February, are expected to slow combat operations on the ground, but aerial strikes and drone attacks have so far continued.

The war has become, in the eyes of some Western officials, a battle over who has the most ammunition.

Experts said the likely Patriot offer comes after months of intense Russian attacks that have pushed Ukrainian defenses, mostly Cold War-era equipment it inherited from the breakup of the Soviet Union, to beyond their limit.

"As we move into the winter, the amount of maneuver operations on the ground in the war is going to decrease for all the reasons that we know, weather, conditions and so on," Jonathan Eyal, an associate director at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, told NBC News.

"So it's very likely Russia is going to keep up pressure from the air by trying to systematically destroy Ukrainian infrastructure. So it is therefore very important for Ukraine's Western backers to look again at Ukraine's air defenses. The timing is important," he said.

Early Wednesday, existing Ukrainian air defenses shot down 13 Iranian-made Shahed drones in the nation's capital, the Kyiv City Military Administration said on its Telegram channel. Senior U.S. officials believe Russia is providing unprecedented military and technical support to Iran in exchange for weapons.

Patriot missiles don't solve the problem of drones, which are too small to be detected by most air defense systems, Eyal added, but the new weapons do provide an important additional air defense layer to the Ukrainian military.

Also, given the grinding, attritional nature of the war — now more than 300 days old — the supply of state-of-the-art weapons shows that Ukraine's Western backers will not tolerate Russian President Vladimir Putin's repeated targeting of civilian infrastructure.

"The political message to the Russians is that they can't continue destroying Ukraine's infrastructure with impunity, which is what Putin does every day. They can't do that without the West delivering better and more sophisticated weapons to the Ukrainian military," Eyal said.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, has said that should Washington provide Kyiv with Patriot systems, they would become legitimate military targets.

Asked whether he agreed with this at his daily press briefing Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "Definitely," before saying he was waiting for more information before commenting further.

Ukraine has been asking for increased surface-to-air firepower since long before Moscow's full-scale invasion this year.

As Russian tanks rolled across the border in February, current and former American officials and defense experts told NBC News that a number of fears — including that weapons could provoke Russia or fall into Russian hands — prevented the U.S. and its allies from granting the Ukrainian requests.

For some analysts, this reluctance was the result of a Russian campaign to intimidate the West, which is only now being ignored.

"This is another step in the U.S. steadily overcoming Russia's successful efforts at deterring it from aiding Ukraine," said Keir Giles, an expert on Russia and a consulting fellow at Chatham House, a London think tank.

"We've seen an incremental process of the U.S. supplying more essential capabilities to Ukraine as it becomes clear that Russia's 'red lines' are no more than bluff and bluster, like so much of the Kremlin's rhetoric," he said.

Giles added that the Patriot missiles offer from the U.S. was also a recognition that the nature of the war has changed: from a series of ground offensives in an attempt to capture major cities in February, to bombarding civilian centers and struggling to retain captured territory now.

"The vital battle for the future of Ukraine is not on the front line — instead it is in protecting the civilian population and key centers from Russia's drone and missile campaign designed to end Ukrainian resistance by making the country uninhabitable," he said.


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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Does anyone have an opinion that had the patriot missile system been sent much earlier it could have saved billions of dollars worth of destruction?

However here's the icing for the war cake:

"Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, has said that should Washington provide Kyiv with Patriot systems, they would become legitimate military targets.
Asked whether he agreed with this at his daily press briefing Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "Definitely," before saying he was waiting for more information before commenting further."

Do you happen to have a fallout shelter, and are the school kids being taught to hide under their desks yet?

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Quiet
2  shona1    2 months ago

But, but isn't that supporting the US war machine and arms manufacturers some here have bleated about?? You can't possibly do that..

Why all of a sudden are the Russians hung up on the US missile defence?? there are 40 other countries supplying Ukraine with anything they want or need...so they can all become legitimate military targets...hell Putin won't know if he is coming or going... preferably the later would be good.

Yes the Ukrainians are doing it tough in some parts, but the Russians are doing it alot tougher..ill armed, trained and kitted out..

One Russian captive was a sailor had one weeks training and sent to the front. He was pulled out of a tank the only survivor. He said.. I know nothing about land fighting..

Do hope the Ukrainian soldier I  sponsored for $500 is warm in his winter gear and the thousand rounds all hit their mark...

I guess one thing the Russians won't have to worry about is preserving their dead to take back to the Mother Land. They are already frozen.

Go Ukraine...🇦🇺🇺🇦

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  shona1 @2    2 months ago

I think Russia considers that the Ukrainians are just proxies for the US in this conflict. 

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Quiet
2.1.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    2 months ago

Wouldn't have expected anything else from the Russians...

Not much has changed since I was there...

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
3  George    2 months ago

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, has said that should Washington provide Kyiv with Patriot systems, they would become legitimate military targets.

Maybe it is just me, but i don't read this as AMERICA would become a legitimate target. But that the Patriot missile batteries would, which would obviously lead to American deaths as i'm pretty sure the Ukrainians aren't trained on how to use them. So Biden would be sending Americans into harms way and the Russians are letting him know they will be part of the target packages, and rightfully so.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
3.1  Ozzwald  replied to  George @3    2 months ago
Maybe it is just me, but i don't read this as AMERICA would become a legitimate target. But that the Patriot missile batteries would, which would obviously lead to American deaths as i'm pretty sure the Ukrainians aren't trained on how to use them.

Ukrainians are already in accelerated training to use them.

Once the plans are finalized, the Patriots are expected to ship quickly in the coming days and Ukrainians will be trained to use them at a US Army base in Grafenwoehr, Germany, officials said.

At this rate, Russia will have to decide to either use nukes, or give up on Ukraine.  Russia is running out of missiles, bullets, and troops ( without another draft ), not to mention the devastating effect on its economy.

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
3.1.1  George  replied to  Ozzwald @3.1    2 months ago

Then i wish them luck, the bottom line is, America and/or Americans won't be targeted, just the missile batteries, that hopefully will have zero Americans there.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
3.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  George @3.1.1    2 months ago
Then i wish them luck, the bottom line is, America and/or Americans won't be targeted, just the missile batteries, that hopefully will have zero Americans there.

We already have Americans there, that went to fight on their own, but I understand what you are trying to say, and fully agree.  It is one thing to supply arms and training, but it takes things to an entirely different level to supply troops.  Even as "advisors".

 
 
 
Have Opinion Will Travel
Professor Participates
3.2  Have Opinion Will Travel  replied to  George @3    2 months ago

I think it's reasonable to assume we are at war with Russia.  Proxy or otherwise.  That makes you a target.  Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. How many boots end up on the ground is assumed to be minimal but modern warfare will eventually become Robocop stylistic.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  George @3    2 months ago

All weapons used by Ukraine in this conflict are a target, so why would Medvedev specify that the Patriot system would be a specific target.  Personally, I think he meant America, that he was stating what the red line was on providing weaponry and the consequences for so doing.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    2 months ago

Russia has been using drones supplied by Iran the last few months. They've caused massive amounts of destruction. Are these missiles capable of shooting down drones? I'm pretty ignorant on war machines that's why I asked.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
4.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    2 months ago

No, the Patriot system is not capable of targeting small drones, they are capable of targeting those hypersonic missiles the russians have been using... but they have other systems that are capable of taking out small drones.... Heck they have systems that are capable of taking out mortars and artillery rounds in flight...

What the russians are showing is they are a second rate military.... The more advanced the weaponry the Ukrainians are provided the harder and harder it's going to get for the Russians... (and I understand it's pretty hard already)

The big question is what are the russians going to do when they finally realize that their attrition campaign is going to fail....

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
4.1.1  George  replied to  Nowhere Man @4.1    2 months ago

We should just give the Ukrainians some small EMP cannons, The Army has a patent for one that fits on a M4, Good place to test it on battlefield conditions.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Nowhere Man @4.1    2 months ago
"The big question is what are the russians going to do when they finally realize that their attrition campaign is going to fail..."

What worries me is that in that circumstance Putin will see that all is lost, and, contrary to T. S. Eliot's closing prediction in his poem The Hollow Men, the reverse of what he wrote just might happen...

"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
 
 

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