Written by 12:05 World

Europe Seeks to Solve the ‘Patriot Puzzle’ in Ukraine

A European plan to give Ukraine another Patriot air defense system to protect its battered cities from Russian airstrikes is coming together, piece by piece.

The radar and three missile launchers are being supplied by the Netherlands. Some interceptor missiles are coming from a four-country coalition led by Germany. A mobile fire control center has been promised, though officials won’t say yet from where or by whom. Additional missiles and launchers, as well as training for Ukrainians to use the sophisticated system, will be provided by as many as eight countries.

“We have all the pieces of the puzzle,” the former Dutch defense minister, Kajsa Ollongren, said in an interview before she left office this week as part of a long-expected transition in the Netherlands’ caretaker government. “We just have to put them together.”

It is the Patriot puzzle, as the assembled air defense system is being called by NATO officials.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said he desperately needs at least seven Patriot batteries to fend off attacks across the country. President Biden has promised that five Western air defense systems will soon be delivered to Ukraine.

Romania has pledged to give one of its systems, following similar commitments from Germany and Italy. One more is expected from the United States.

The fifth may be delivered via the piecemeal approach. For months, allies have been scouring their arsenals and settling on a creative, if not surefire, way to provide another Patriot system: build a complete one out of spare parts donated from around Europe.

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Last modified: 5 July 2024
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