Russia hit back at reports that the U.S. is poised to send the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine, calling it a “provocative” move that “can lead to unpredictable consequences.”
The U.S. has not yet announced the decision to send the advanced systems, which could help Ukraine fend off a barrage of Russian missile strikes, but multiple reports indicated such an announcement could come this week.
“If this is confirmed, we will witness yet another provocative step by the administration, which can lead to unpredictable consequences,” the Russian Embassy in Washington said in a statement. “Continued deliveries of arms will only strengthen the Zelensky regime’s sense of impunity and push it to new crimes against civilians in Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.”
The U.S. and NATO countries have already sent other air defense systems to Ukraine, including two shipments of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System. But Patriots, made by U.S. firm Raytheon, are the most advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems NATO has in its repertoire.
Such a system could help Ukraine shoot down bigger threats from further away, but the U.S. so far has balked at sending Patriots in part because of concerns over it being viewed as an escalation by Moscow.
“Washington’s strategy causes enormous damage not only to the Russian-American relations, but also creates additional risks for global security,” the Russian Embassy said, blaming the U.S. for Russia’s ongoing invasion.
But the deliveries would answer the repeated calls from Kyiv for more advanced systems from the West at a time when Russia is launching rounds of missile strikes aimed at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and other targets.
“We are preparing agreements that will strengthen our defense capabilities and give Ukraine more operational capabilities,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Wednesday.