Germany Says It Delivered Patriot Missile Battery To Ukraine

Berlin has delivered a Patriot air defense battery and missiles to Ukraine, the German Defense Ministry (MoD) announced Tuesday on its website.

The Patriot system, along with additional trucks, was added to the category of “delivered” military assistance this week as part of Germany’s $2.41 billion commitment of lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine.

This is the first confirmed delivery of a Patriot battery to Ukraine. The U.S. has also promised to deliver a MIM-104 Patriot air defense system, but the Pentagon on Tuesday again declined to say whether it has been delivered yet.

“We don’t have any updates on this end and will allow the Ukrainians to announce any arrivals when they’re ready to do so,” Army Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesman, told The War Zone Tuesday afternoon.

In February, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon that delivery of the Patriot battery will be “expedited.” But he did not offer specifics.

During a media briefing last month announcing that the Ukrainian air defense troops training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, had wrapped up their U.S. training and left for Europe, Ryder declined to say when the U.S.-promised MIM-104 Patriot air defense system will arrive in Ukraine.

Last Friday, Col. Yuri Ignat, the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, said he had not seen the Patriot.

“No, I haven’t seen it yet,” he said on national television, according to the Ukrainian Interfax news agency. “When they are, you will find out when the first rashist aircraft will be shot down.”

We reached out to Ignat, as well as the defense ministries of Germany and the Netherlands, for comment.

Germany had initially promised Ukraine a Patriot system, but both CNN and Politico reported last month that it will consist of components from German and Dutch systems.

We will update this story with any response received.

The Patriots will boost Ukraine’s air defense capabilities, but are no “silver bullet,” according to the Pentagon.

Though Patriots are “capable of intercepting cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and aircraft, it’s important to put the Patriot battery in context,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters, including from The War Zone on Dec. 21, the day Zelensky was in Washington D.C. to hear from U.S. President Joe Biden that the Patriots were officially promised to Ukraine.

Presidents Biden and Zelensky have a light-hearted moment during their joint press conference. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“For air defense, there is no silver bullet. Our goal is to help Ukraine strengthen a layered integrated approach to air defense that will include Ukraine’s own legacy capabilities as well as NATO standard systems. Patriot will complement a range of medium- and short-range air defense capabilities that we have provided and the allies have provided in prior donation packages.”

The delivery of the Patriot system comes at a time when Ukraine is preparing a counteroffensive and amid concerns over Kyiv’s rapidly diminishing supply of air defense munitions.

Last week, The New York Times reported that intelligence documents U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Jack Teixeira is accused of leaking contained concerning details about Ukraine’s air defense munitions burn rate.

“…without a huge influx of munitions, Ukraine’s entire air defense network, weakened by repeated barrages from Russian drones and missiles, could fracture,” The New York Times reported, citing U.S. officials and newly leaked Pentagon documents.

That could “potentially [allow] President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to unleash his lethal fighter jets in ways that could change the course of the war.”

While one Patriot air defense system is not a game-changer, it represents a big boost to Ukraine’s ability to protect the most critical areas of its skies.

Exactly how much it will help remains to be seen.

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Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard's work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.