Former British intel: US wary on Ukraine air support

Patriot air defense system
Patriot air defense system

Washington could easily find several batteries of Patriot SAMs for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but they are not doing so, Frank Ledwidge, a former British military intelligence officer, told NV on June 3.

Ukraine is in dire need of additional systems to strengthen its air defenses. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed this with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a meeting in Kyiv in mid-May. But despite statements by the White House about its “intense focus” on this issue, Washington seems unwilling to find the launchers Ukraine needs, the former spy said.

“In total, the Americans have 480 Patriot launchers; that is 80 batteries deployed around the world, most of which are currently in the United States,” said Ledwidge, who is also a lecturer in military strategy and law at the University of Portsmouth.

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“It should be easy to find a few launchers [for Ukraine], and more importantly, guidance systems. But they won’t. I think they [the Americans] are under too little pressure to do so.”

The analyst sees the reason for the U.S. government’s sluggish response to Ukrainian requests for air defenses as the fact that America currently has other geopolitical priorities. Washington sees the destabilization of the Western Pacific as the biggest threat.

The United States is also concerned about its own weapons stockpile. This is also indicated by the fact that the latest U.S. aid package for Ukraine includes a scheme to rearm and replace the American stockpile. According to The Telegraph, when the Pentagon transfers old weapons to Ukraine, the department simultaneously receives funds from the budget to purchase new generation weapons.

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Similar fears prevail among British military leaders.

“When asked by the parliamentary defense committee what they were most concerned about, all three commanders – the [Ground] Forces, the Navy and the Air Force – mentioned the stockpile of weapons,” said Ledwidge.

“It is now running low because of the war in Ukraine and because estimates of war requirements have changed significantly.”

That is why, according to the expert, Ukraine will not receive air defense systems in the amount it is asking for.

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