Kiev has received a shipment of Patriot air defense systems from the US and Germany, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov confirmed on Twitter. While Kiev will get only a limited number of advanced interceptors, the military chief said Ukraine had realized a “dream.“
“Today, our beautiful Ukrainian sky becomes more secure because Patriot air defense systems have arrived in Ukraine,“ Reznikov tweeted on Wednesday, adding “Our air defenders have mastered them as fast as they could.“ He went on to thank the US, Germany and the Netherlands for keeping their pledge to transfer the weapon to Ukraine.
Reznikov said the air defense systems fulfilled a goal that he was told was impossible to achieve. “Do you know how to visualize a dream?“ he continued. “During my visit to the US in August 2021 … I first told our partners, ‘We need the Patriots.’ Our country’s liberty and independence are under threat. And what did we hear? It’s impossible! But the impossible is possible.“
According to Deutsche Welle, a German outlet, Ukraine will only receive one launcher from the US and Germany each, while the Netherlands is sending missiles and spare parts.
Last month, the Pentagon claimed that 65 Ukrainian soldiers training in the US had become proficient on the platform ahead of schedule, allowing Washington to ship the missile defense system to Kiev earlier than expected. A German defense official said that Berlin and Washington also provided training during a NATO exercise in an unspecified country.
Reznikov’s praise for the Patriot system may be overhyped, however. The limited number of launchers will provide Ukraine with only a small area of coverage from Russian attacks. Though Patriots are capable of targeting planes, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, they are inefficient against drones. Moreover, a single interceptor for the platform carries a colossal price tag of $4 million, while drones are cheap to mass-produce.