The U.S. government is considering sending the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to bolster air defenses against ongoing Russian missile strikes, a senior U.S. defense official said.
"Patriot is one of the air defense capabilities that is being considered along with all others," he said.
Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder later said the Department of Defense is going over "a wide variety of capabilities and support with Ukraine."
"Air defense continues to be a top priority for DOD and for the international community when it comes to supporting Ukraine," he said. "In terms of any type of Patriot battery from the U.S., right now, we have no plans to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine, but again, we'll continue to have those discussions."
Kyiv has repeatedly called upon the West for air defense systems and other weapons and aid to keep Russian missile and drone strikes at bay.
The U.S. and other NATO countries have poured weapons into the country, including the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System that arrived earlier this month in Ukraine, but Kyiv is requesting more advanced systems.
The Patriot missile defense system, made by Raytheon, is the most sophisticated surface-to-air missile defense system NATO has at its disposal. They are designed to track and take on inbound ballistic and cruise missiles and aircraft.
"We are looking at all the possible capabilities that could help the Ukrainians withstand Russian attacks," the senior official said. "All the capabilities are on the table, and we are looking at what the United States can do, we're looking at what our allies and partners can do, and looking at combinations of capabilities that would be useful."
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