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US facing ‘risks’ over Patriot missiles delivery to Ukraine: Congressional advisory body

This picture shows a US-made Patriot III missile being launched during the annual "Han Kuang" (Han Glory) military drill from an unnamed location in Taiwan. (Photo by AFP)

A US government advisory body has warned Congress that the planned delivery of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine has raised “legislative and oversight” risks for the United States.

The Patriot air-defense missile system which consists of a package of radars, command-and-control technology, and multiple interceptors requires dozens of trained personnel who have taken part in several months of training courses, US media reported on Saturday the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Which provides expert support to members of Congress on a nonpartisan basis as saying.

“There is a lot of learning to do before Ukraine will have a functioning Patriot system on the ground,” CRS pointed out.

CRS also raised concerns over the “massive price tag” of the Patriot systems and their interceptor missiles, which are “estimated to cost about $4 million per missile.” According to available data, “a newly produced Patriot battery costs about $1.1 billion, including about $400 million for the system and about $690 million for the missiles,” the CRS said.

Congress should therefore consider the question of whether certain “restrictions [would] be imposed on what types of hostile systems can be engaged by” the systems operated by Ukrainian troops, the agency suggested.

In late December, amid reports about the US plans to supply the Patriot system to Ukraine which had been going around for several weeks as Russia rapidly gained territory in Ukraine and the escalation of ground and aerial fighting, the Biden administration announced that it will provide Ukraine with the advanced air defense system as part of a new $1.85 billion military package to the war-ravaged country.

The announcement came in parallel with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington, his first overseas trip since Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February.

Kiev had made repeated requests for the Patriot system, which many experts believe could be a risky proposition.

The Patriot missile system, which is an extension of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) system initially developed in the 1980s to intercept high-flying aircraft, has been developed by US aerospace and military conglomerate Raytheon Technologies Corp and was first deployed in the field in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In the meantime, the time-frame for the delivery of the Patriot missile system to Ukraine still remains unclear.

The war in Ukraine started in late February with Moscow saying that it was aimed at defending the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.

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