Russia warns US air defense systems in Ukraine would be priority targets

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alyssa Chuluda/Wikimedia Commons

Russian foreign minister says any weapons systems supplied to Ukraine, including the Patriot, along with the personnel servicing them, will remain legitimate priority targets for the Russian armed forces 

A recent announcement made by the Russian foreign ministry has warned that if Ukraine is provided with the U.S. Patriot air defence systems, its operating crew, along with the equipment will be targeted by Russian forces. This statement was made by Russian officials on Thursday, December 15, according to a report by the Associated Press.  

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson, Russian Foreign Ministry said, “The U.S. had effectively become a party to the war by providing Ukraine with weapons and training its troops”.

She said, if U.S provides Ukraine with Patriot surface-to-air missile system, “it would become another provocative move by the U.S. and broaden its involvement in the hostilities, entailing possible consequences”, the report said. Zakharova further warned that any such systems supplied to Ukraine, along with its crew, will be “legitimate priority targets” for the Russian forces.  

Meanwhile, U.S. officials, responded to the comments by the Russian ministry and said, they will not allow Russia to dictate the security assistance provided by U.S government to Ukraine. A quote by Pat Ryder, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Gen, in the report said, “I find it ironic and very telling that, officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor — in an illegal and unprovoked invasion, choose to use words like provocative to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and protect civilians”. 

The U.S. government finally agreed to send the Patriot missile battery system after urgent requests from Ukrainian officials, after repeated strikes by Russia. The report said, U.S. along with other NATO allies have so far supplied short and medium-range air defense systems. These systems have the capabilities to take down Russian aircrafts and drones but are ineffective against cruise and ballistic missiles.

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