Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder explained that once the Patriot systems can be used on the battlefield, the Ukrainian Army will see its air defense capabilities increased and will safeguard the population against possible Russian offensives.
For her part, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Laura Cooper, revealed to CNN television that the training program in Oklahoma could last “several months” and admitted that she was not in a position to give a “specific timeframe”. .
Likewise, Ryder said that next week the training program for Ukrainian battalions in Europe will also start, but he said that it will not require a “significant increase or no increase in terms of deployment of American instructors,” reported the news agencies Europa Press and AFP.
In this regard, Russia has already warned in recent weeks that it would react if the supply of Patriot systems to Ukraine was accompanied by an increase in US soldiers posted to military bases in Europe.
Manufactured by the Raytheon group, the MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system initially developed to intercept high-flying aircraft.
It was modified in the 1980s in the face of the threat of tactical ballistic missiles, and was first used in combat against Russian-made Iraqi Scuds in the first Gulf War.
The United States announced in late December the shipment of Patriot systems to Ukraine as part of a new economic aid package that coincided with President Volodimir Zelensky’s visit to Washington.
Air defense has played a key role in protecting Ukraine and preventing Russian forces from controlling the skies.
But facing setbacks on the ground, Russia began attacking critical infrastructure in Ukraine, cutting off electricity, water and heating to millions of people.
Last Friday, the United States announced new military aid to Ukraine that led Russia to denounce that the measure represented disinterest in achieving a peaceful solution to the war that broke out in mid-February 2022.
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