Zelensky Says 5-7 Patriot Systems from US Would Unblock the Sky Over Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that five to seven of the US-made Patriot air defense systems would “unblock the sky” over Ukraine.

“Five to seven Patriot systems from the United States of America will protect industrial platforms in Ukraine today,” Zelensky said in an interview broadcast on CBS News Friday.

“We could have jobs, schools, so we could have an opportunity to work and for children to go to school [safely],” Zelensky said.

Zelensky said that Patriot systems would help keep Ukrainian cities safe.

“With the help of the Patriots, we will unblock the sky, and our guys will go forward,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president indicated that Ukraine can triumph by weakening Russian President Vladimir Putin domestically through a variety of means and forcing him to divert resources to control of Russia.

If Ukraine had long-range missiles, for example, capable of hitting Russian energy infrastructure – Putin would start thinking twice before targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure as it’s been doing. Putin would have to divert resources now focused on attacking Ukraine.

“We need to be allowed to act on the battlefield,” Zelensky told CBS News.

Zelensky clarified that the United States had not yet sent Patriot systems to Ukraine and that Kyiv’s Patriot systems have come from other countries.

“We are grateful to the United States for the tremendous help,” Zelensky said, “but the Patriot systems located here did not come from the United States. Funds — $1.5 to $2 billion — were allocated for these systems and their projectiles, but the systems themselves came from different countries.”

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Ukraine’s need for air defense was highlighted on March 21 when Russia launched missiles at the Ukrainian capital and surrounding areas. Kyiv’s air defense was able to shoot down the missiles which could have had a devastating impact had they managed to land.

Forbes reported that Ukraine could soon exhaust its top-tier air defense missiles, particularly if it’s been using the Patriots to shoot down Russian bombers and other aircraft.

“How the Ukrainians are shooting down so many jets is unclear,” the publication read.

One possibility is that the Ukrainian Air Force has deployed American-made Patriot missile launchers within mobile air-defense groups strategically positioned along the 600-mile front line, it said.

The risk in this strategy is that the Patriot and NASAMS batteries use US-made missiles, and Ukraine reportedly has not received any ammunition from the United States since late December, the magazine reported.

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