SYSTEM

Biden tells weapons buyers to wait until Kiev gets its share

Washington is reportedly sending another Patriot missile system to

President and Ukraine’s during a press conference on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, on June 13, 2024. ©  MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Countries that have ordered air defense systems from the US will have to accept that Kiev will be given priority, President Joe Biden has said.

The US leader outlined Washington’s stance at a joint press conference with Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, after the two signed a security agreement on Thursday on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy.

“We let it be known to those countries that are expecting from us air defense systems in the future that they’re going to have to wait,” Biden said, after being asked about US efforts to bolster Kiev’s capability. “Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met.”

Biden did not explain what specific systems he was referring to, but earlier noted his administration had secured commitments from five countries to deliver long-range Patriot batteries to Kiev.

During the press conference, Zelensky reiterated his claim that Ukraine urgently needs seven Patriot systems, adding that “we discussed the possibility of having five of them”. Biden assured him that “you’ll have some relatively quickly.”

Read more No Patriots for Ukraine – Poland

Last week, the US president approved the relocation of a Patriot system from Poland to Ukraine, according to several US media outlets. Each battery is worth over $1 billion and fires interceptor missiles that cost $4 million each. The US has just 14 of them deployed domestically and on foreign soil, The New York Times said, citing a military source.

Ukraine has so far received at least three Patriot batteries – one from the US, one from Germany, and one supplied jointly by Germany and the Netherlands. In April, Berlin pledged to deliver another one soon, but has since backtracked on that pledge. US officials have said their country is the leading supplier of interceptor missiles for Ukraine.

Western nations including Poland have stated that they will not donate any of their Patriot systems to Ukraine. Polish media have claimed that the US battery slated for relocation is needed to defend a logistics hub in the city of Rzeszow, through which Western arms are being sent to Ukraine.

READ MORE: US and Ukraine sign security pact

Moscow has repeatedly said that no amount of military hardware that Western nations donate to Kiev can alter the outcome of the hostilities. It considers the conflict as a US-initiated proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainians are being used as “cannon fodder”.

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