The White House has confirmed that President Joe Biden will announce that the United States will send Patriot air defense systems to Russian-invaded Ukraine, according to The Guardian. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to arrive in the US on Wednesday, his first trip outside the country since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Joe Biden will announce a “significant” new package of nearly two billion dollars in security assistance for Ukraine, the White House said.
According to the quoted source, the new package of military assistance to Ukraine will include a battery of Patriot missiles “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,” the White House added. According to CNN, the United States will train Ukrainian forces in Germany to operate the Patriot system.
The US announcement of a new military aid package to Ukraine coincides with a visit by Zelenskiy to Washington on Wednesday, just a day after he visited the front lines in eastern Ukraine. American President Joe Biden published a statement announcing that Volodymyr Zelenskiy is going to the White House on Wednesday, and then he will address Congress, according to The Guardian.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden invited Zelenskiy to Washington “to underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine”: “The visit will underscore the firm commitment of the United States to support Ukraine as long as it will be needed, including by providing economic, humanitarian and military assistance”.
Joe Biden sent a message to Zelensky who is flying to the U.S.
Zelensky’s first foreign trip since the start of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine was prepared “in the greatest secrecy” and with a great degree of concern for guaranteeing the security of the European leader, reported the American newspaper The New York Times on Wednesday. A US military aircraft was involved in bringing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for his meetings on Wednesday, according to US officials to CNN.
Zelensky plans to leave Washington immediately after his speech to Congress on Capitol Hill, making his visit a matter of just a few hours. The Ukrainian president traveled to Poland by train on Wednesday. Images were captured of the moment when the Ukrainian president arrived by train in Przemysl, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
US and Ukrainian officials had been planning the visit for weeks, just as tensions began to rise between Washington and Kyiv over the future of the war, media sources revealed.
During a call on December 11, Biden invited Zelenskiy to Washington to discuss future battlefield operations and ways his administration could continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, a senior U.S. official told reporters Tuesday.
In the weeks leading up to the call, U.S. officials were engaged in discussions with their counterparts in Kyiv and in Europe about how much military support the U.S. would continue to provide to Ukraine to keep Kiev’s armed forces going through the winter.
Apparently Ukraine would eye more advances weapons from America to resist the Russians, while Washington is hesitating.
During the meeting with President Biden and his national security team, the Ukrainian delegation led by Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to make a new round of pleas to be provided with the US military’s long-range tactical missile systems (ATACMS), as well as MQ-9 Reaper and Gray Eagle drones, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke to reporters at Politico.
The Biden White House has though categorically rejected sending ATACMS to Ukraine. The costs of doing so are high, US officials say. Sending long-range missiles to Kyiv could risk provoking Putin to use potentially even more lethal weapons inside Ukraine.
This U.S. reluctance worried Ukrainian officials and forced some of the country’s top military leaders to seek help from others, including countries outside the Western alliance. Now the Ukrainians fear that they will not be able to advance on the battlefield this winter and will lose the momentum gained after the liberation of Kherson, the mentioned sources also disclosed.