Fears grow that Ukraine could run out of US-supplied Patriot missiles

The White House and the Pentagon have warned that the supply of Patriot interceptor missiles may soon be unsustainable due to their substantial cost of around $2 million to $4 million each, The New York Times reported.

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As Russia intensifies its winter bombardment with a diverse range of missiles and drone weapons, Ukrainian defenses are reliant on Patriot missiles, which have proven to be highly effective against Putin’s top weapons.

On Tuesday, Ukraine said it shot down all 10 of the new Kinzhals fired during a vicious air assault, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine praising the incident as “what heroism supplied with advanced systems looks like.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously said the Kinzhal missile was an “undefeatable” system.

“Given that the Patriot is one of the few systems that can effectively shoot down ballistic missiles, and ballistic missiles cause the most casualties, I think the number of lives saved during the war is in the thousands,” Volodymyr, a Ukrainian major, told The New York Times.

All Ukraine’s Patriot interceptors have so far been strategically placed around Kyiv to protect the capital, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said, perĀ Politico, adding that he would like at least “a dozen” more to protect other key cities like Kherson and Odesa.

Russia has increased its missile attacks against its neighbor in the hopes of further depleting its dwindling Patriot stocks.

Jade McGlynn, a Russian politics researcher and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, previously told Business Insider that depleting Patriot stocks was “clearly part of” Russia’s strategy.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has endured over 3,800 drones and 7,400 missiles directed at its towns and cities, The NYT reported.

The range of attacks has meant Ukraine has turned into a trial area for different air-defense systems, ranging from truck-mounted Stingers to the advanced French-designed SAMP/T.

The Patriots, designed to counter ballistic missiles, stand out in their ability to intercept incoming attacks. Yet, the unpredictability of future missile supplies leaves Ukrainian commanders uncertain about their defensive capabilities.

The Biden administration’s request for a further $61 billion in aid for Ukraine has been stalled by Republicans in US Congress, who are demanding the military support comes with stricter US-Mexico border controls.

But while Congress threatens future Patriot supplies, it is hoped NATO can fill the gap if the US supply dries up.

Countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain could help provide up to 1,000 Patriot missiles to the wartorn country, The Associated Press reported.

The contract could be worth around $5.5 billion, per The AP.

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