Tuesday evening, it was announced by multiple U.S. defense officials and a top Biden administration official that the U.S. was working on a deal to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. On Wednesday, the Kremlin responded to the announcement with Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, posting on his Telegram account (computer translation), "If, as Stoltenberg hinted, NATO supplies Kyiv fanatics with Patriot complexes along with NATO personnel, they will immediately become a legitimate target of our Armed Forces. I hope the Atlantean impotents understand this."
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military has targeted not only Western arms caches inside Ukraine but also inbound shipments arriving in the country. At the beginning of the war, Russia targeted Ukraine's national rail network for this purpose.
While there is much talk and anticipation of the delivery of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, the plan has not yet been approved by either Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or President Biden. Approval of the deal could potentially come as soon as next week, but Ukrainian troops would have to undergo extensive training at a U.S. Army base in Germany to learn how to use the systems before the missiles could be delivered to Ukraine, which could take months.
Concerns have been growing that Ukraine will use the long-range Patriot missile systems to launch attacks inside Russian territory. However, the range of the missiles is determined by the type of munition used, which would allow the Pentagon to limit the air-defense systems' range.
Regardless of the munitions supplied with the missile systems, if the plan is even approved, the Kremlin sees the potential move as an escalation. Ukraine will most likely be facing a new onslaught of missile and drone strikes in retaliation by Moscow.
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