Potential Impact of Patriot Systems on the Ukrainian War

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

On December 21, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first foreign visit to Washington, D.C., following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. On the same day, the United States (US) announced a military aid package for Ukraine. With this package, the total amount of military aid provided by Washington to Kyiv will reach 21.9 billion dollars.[1]

In this context, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the following about the new military aid package of 1.8 billion dollars, in which he stated that they would provide Patriot air defence systems to Ukraine for the first time:[2]

“We will continue to support Ukraine as much as we can so that Kyiv can continue to defend itself and be in the best position at the negotiating table when the time comes. Only Russia can end this war today. Until it does, we will stand by Ukraine.”

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has purchased many Western air defence systems, ranging from Stringer missiles to advanced heat and radar homing systems. It is aimed to increase the defence capacity of Ukraine with these weapons. Patriots are a new phase. For the last few months, Ukrainian authorities have been requesting Patriots from the US. But for various reasons, the Washington administration and its allies did not respond positively to this request. The main advantage of these systems is the speed with which they can be made combat-ready and the ability to target several locations simultaneously.

Patriots are capable of shooting down not only aeroplanes and cruise missiles, but also ballistic missiles. Moreover, ballistic missiles have been Ukraine’s biggest air defence challenge since the beginning of the war. In this sense, the ability of Patriot systems to shoot down ballistic missiles at up to 20 km will increase Kyiv’s defence capacity.[3] Thus, the Patriots will replace the S-300s.

In addition, the following question comes to mind: Why is it that Ukraine has repeatedly asked for Patriot systems to be allocated to it for a long time, but the US is only now providing them? One of the reasons for this is that the US does not want the Russian Army to lose or win in the Russian-Ukrainian War, but rather to be worn down. In this sense, Ukraine’s acquisition of Patriot systems would prolong the war and make it more difficult for Russia to achieve the expected victory.

Ukraine had a very strong air defence system before the war started. Over time, however, the number of S-300s and the missiles produced for them has declined. Ukraine could not produce new S-300s and could not find a country to buy them, and therefore faced serious problems. Therefore, the US Department of Defense believes that the Patriots are a “silver bullet” that will solve all of Ukraine’s air defence problems. In this sense, the Patriots will complement the previous air defence capacity provided by the US to Ukraine, including NASAMS air defence systems; Hawk air defence system missiles and Stringer missiles.[4]

It is believed that the supply of Patriots to Ukraine will complicate the actions of the Russian Army. The Kremlin was therefore uncomfortable with the White House’s decision. Moscow interpreted this decision as a provocation and an expansion of the US military intervention in Ukraine.

It will be recalled that in November 2022, Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, warned the West about the Patriot issue, saying, “In such a situation, North Atlantic Treaty Organization personnel and Patriot systems will become legitimate targets of our military.”[5] On December 15, 2022, Foreign Ministry of Russia Spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that the Patriots would lead to an escalation of the conflict.[6]

It is currently envisaged that Ukraine will receive one battery of “Patriot” air defence systems. It is stated that this process may take several months. The training of Ukrainian military personnel who will use the systems is planned to take place in Germany. According to the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers will soon be able to use the systems.

As a result, although it is difficult to say how the course of the war will progress until the Patriots are given to Ukraine, it can be argued that the balance on the ground will work in favour of the Kyiv administration after Ukraine supplies the Patriots.

[1] “США передают Украине новый пакет военной помощи на $1,85 млрд с системой Patriot”, TASS,, (Date of Accession: 22.12.2022).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Что такое системы ПВО “Пэтриот”, которые США собираются передать Украине?”, Delfi,, (Date of Accession: 22.12.2022).

[4] “В Пентагоне допустили месяцы подготовки ВСУ к использованию ЗРК Patriot”, VTB,, (Erişim Tarihi: 22.12.2022).

[5] “Песков назвал ненадежными сообщения о поставках Украине ЗРК Patriot”, Kommersant,, (Date of Accession: 23.12.2022).

[6] “Война в Украине. Как комплекс “Пэтриот” облегчит жизнь Киеву и испортит настроение в Москве”, BBC News,, (Date of Accession: 22.12.2022).

Lisans öğrenimini Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünde tamamlayan Dr. Sabir Askeroğlu, yüksek lisans derecesini Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda almıştır. Doktora eğitimini İstanbul Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda tamamlayan Dr. Askeroğlu, çeşitli düşünce kuruluşlarında görev yapmıştır. Başlıca ilgi alanları, Avrasya çalışmaları ve Rus dış politikası olan Dr. Askeroğlu, iyi derecede Rusça ve İngilizce bilmektedir.