Zelensky in the U.S.: a Patriot system to be part of a new package of security assistance for Ukraine

December 21,2022 661
Zelensky in the U.S.: a Patriot system to be part of a new package of security assistance for Ukraine

A Patriot surface-to-air missile battery, Ukraine has been long asking the United States to provide, will be part of the significant new package of nearly $2 billion of security assistance for Ukraine that U.S. President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, in Washington, the White House reported.

The battery “will be a critical asset to defend the Ukrainian people against Russia’s barbaric attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. We will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the Patriot missile battery in a third country. This will take some time, but Ukrainian troops will take that training back to their country to operate this battery,” a White House senior administration official told journalists on Tuesday at a teleconferenced press call, the contents of which were under embargo until the next day.

The official also said the United States “will continue to prioritize other forms of air defense support as well, including NASAMS, HAWKs, Stingers, and counter-UAV equipment.”

Moreover, it is expected that Congress will pass a significant package of additional funding for Ukraine for 2023. “And we anticipate a bipartisan package of more than $40 billion of funding for Ukraine,” the official said.

The White House provided a quick overview of Zelensky’s first visit abroad since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. “President Biden will first welcome President Zelensky at the White House for bilateral meetings. There will be the press conference and the opportunity to address members of the public. And then there will be an address by President Zelensky to a joint session of Congress demonstrating the strong bipartisan support for Ukraine. And then President Zelensky will return, after just a few short hours on the ground, to his people in Ukraine.”

According to the senior administration official, Biden and Zelenskyy discussed the visit of the Ukrainian president when they spoke on the phone on Dec. 11, and a formal invitation was made on Dec. 14. President Zelensky’s office formally accepted the invitation last Friday.

The White House also had the “opportunity to consult closely with President Zelenskyy on the security parameters of him being able to depart the country, come to the United States for a brief period, and return,” the official said. “And I would point out that, just this morning, he traveled to the town of Bakhmut in the east, which is very close to the frontlines in the east,” he added.

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