US to send another Patriot air defence missile battery to Ukraine

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The US will give Ukraine an additional Patriot air defence system to bolster the country’s fortification against Russia, joining contributions from four other Nato members as the alliance signals to Moscow its lasting support for Kyiv.

Biden announced the new system as he kicked off the alliance’s 75th summit, held in Washington and taking place at a time of political uncertainty in the US and elsewhere. Former president Donald Trump, who has an edge in most US election polls, is sceptical of the alliance and has threatened to pull American support from Kyiv if it does not negotiate with Moscow.

Ukraine has for months pleaded for additional air defence capabilities to repel almost daily Russian bombardments of civilian targets and critical infrastructure.

“Our message to Moscow and the world is clear: our support for Ukraine is strong and unwavering,” Biden, Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The announcement also comes a day after a Russian missile struck a children’s cancer hospital in Kyiv as part of a barrage that killed at least 41 civilians across the country.

While the alliance hoped to project strength and unity at the annual gathering, questions about Washington’s future commitments to Nato under a possible Trump presidency as well as questions about Biden’s age have overshadowed that aim.

Trump on Tuesday said the US was contributing too much for Ukraine’s defence and that Europe should pay at least $100bn to equalise Washington’s contribution. In fact, European nations as a group have contributed more than Washington has, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

The US Patriot donation was announced by Biden as he pointed to other previously announced air defence systems being sent by Nato members.

Italy will provide a SAMP-T system, Germany and Romania will each provide a Patriot system, and the Netherlands is supplying a Patriot system made up of components donated by other countries.

“These five strategic air defence systems will help to protect Ukrainian cities, civilians and soldiers, and we are co-ordinating closely with the Ukrainian government so that these systems can be utilised rapidly,” the five governments said in the joint statement. “We are working on a further announcement this year of additional strategic air defence systems for Ukraine.”

The US last month said it would pause all other exports of Patriot missiles in order to ensure Ukraine was adequately supplied.

The war against Ukraine has underscored limited western air defence capabilities, and prompted a number of European initiatives to develop and manufacture new weaponry.

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