Ukraine welcomes offers of more weapons, but still no word on Patriot missiles

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken around table with other diplomats
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, left, meets Wednesday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, right, during a NATO meeting in Bucharest, Romania.
(Stoyan Nenov / Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday condemned Russia’s weeks-long assault on Ukraine’s power grid and other infrastructure as an attempt to “freeze and starve” its people, as the war-torn country’s top diplomat renewed an appeal for advanced missile systems.

Blinken spoke after a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Bucharest, Romania, that was partly devoted to coordinating aid to keep the lights — and heaters — on in Ukraine, where Russian strikes have damaged much of the country’s electricity infrastructure.

“Russia has bombed out more than a third of Ukraine’s energy system, plunging millions into cold, into darkness as frigid temperatures set in. Heat, water, electricity, for children, for the elderly, for the sick — these are [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard,” Blinken said.


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has underscored that his country’s biggest needs now are electrical gear and more advanced air-defense systems than it has so far received from the U.S. and other allies to stop Russia from bombing its grid in the first place.

“The best way to help the Ukrainian energy system is to provide both spare parts to restore [the] energy system and air-defense systems and ammunition to defend Ukraine’s energy system from further missile terror conducted by Russia,” Kuleba said.

Heading into a one-on-one session with Blinken on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization gathering, Kuleba said that Ukraine at the session
had received “a number of commitments, new commitments, from various NATO members with regard to providing Ukraine with more defensive weapons and energy equipment.”

Staging of ‘Caligula’ in the Ukrainian capital is cathartic for audience and cast alike. ‘Resonates in this moment,’ says actor who plays Roman despot.

Dec. 1, 2022

But he declined to answer questions about whether that included promises of badly wanted Patriot missile batteries from the U.S. or any other ally. Kuleba did say that Ukraine would take Patriots from Germany if those that Berlin has offered to Poland can be spared.

The provision of Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine would mark a major advance in the kinds of air-defense systems the West is sending to help the country defend itself from Russian aerial attack. Talk of it has already angered Moscow.


“If Germany is ready to provide Patriots to Poland, and Poland has nothing against handing these Patriots over to Ukraine, then I think that the solution for the German government is obvious,” Kuleba said.

“We are ready to operate them in the safest ... and most efficient way. And once again, I would like to reiterate that this is a purely defensive weapon. We will be working with the German government on this particular issue next time,” he

The mayor of Kyiv warns that some of the Ukrainian capital’s residents might have to be evacuated to places with more reliable essential services.

Nov. 28, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that his country’s offer to send Patriots to Poland remains on the table, despite Warsaw’s suggestion that they should go to Ukraine instead.

Ukraine does not have personnel trained to use Patriots — a complicated system with three main types, of varying ranges and altitudes. Germany has lent them to Slovakia and Turkey but sent its own technicians to operate the missiles.

NATO allies would almost certainly refuse to send any military personnel into Ukraine, to avoid being dragged into a wider war with nuclear-armed Russia. They would also want guarantees that Ukraine would use the missiles only to defend its airspace and not fire them into Russian territory.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that deliveries of such sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems are under consideration among some allies. The alliance does not possess any weapons itself; only its member countries do.

Areas of Ukraine once considered places of refuge are staggering under the weight of caring for displaced people and experiencing their own hardships.

Nov. 27, 2022

A senior U.S. Defense official who briefed Pentagon reporters Tuesday on condition of anonymity said that the U.S. was open to providing Patriots.

Russia is deeply opposed to the move and threatened retaliation if it happened. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said Tuesday on his Telegram channel: “If, as Stoltenberg hinted, NATO supplies the Kyiv fanatics with Patriot complexes along with NATO personnel, they will immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces.”