December 26, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to destroy the Patriot Missile Defense Systems if the U.S. follows through with its commitment to supply them to Ukraine.
In an interview that aired on Christmas Day on the state-controlled Rossiya-1 TV channel, Putin vowed to destroy the anti-missile system that can effectively destroy incoming targets.
During the interview with state-approved journalist Pavel Zarubin, Putin said he was assured Ukraine “does not have such complexes yet” and maintained Russia would destroy the systems.
“Of course, we will click, 100 percent,” Putin said, according to the Russian state media outlet TASS.
The Patriot Missle Defense System is a key part of the $1.85 billion security assistance support package that the Department of Defense announced on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, the Patriot—which stands for Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target—is considered to be one of the most advanced defense systems in the U.S. arsenal.
The system uses a powerful radar and has a range of some 93 miles and can intercept incoming missiles.
Patriot systems would able to target ballistic missiles, aircrafts and drones that Russia sends to destroy or damage Ukrainian infrastructure.
Retired U.S. General Mark Hertling shared concerns about the timeline for sharing the missile system while speaking to CNN as he said it would take “months” of training to use optimally.
He added the missile defense system is not something that would be able to defend the whole of Ukraine.
Hertling said: “These systems don’t pick up and move around the battlefield. You put them in place somewhere that defends your most strategic target, like a city, like Kyiv.
“If anyone thinks this is going to be a system that is spread across a 500-mile border between Ukraine and Russia, they just don’t know how the system operates.”
On Thursday, Putin said the aid package for Ukraine would “prolong conflict” in eastern Europe and claimed the Patriot missile system was “quite old.”
Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin for comment.
Russia has downplayed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to Washington D.C. Zelensky gave a historic address to U.S. lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol which resulted in the announcement of the $1.85 billion package.
The Ukrainian leader told Congress Ukraine “will never surrender” and highlighted strong relations between the U.S. and his country.