According to extensive reports in the US media, the US Department of Defense is making final preparations for the plan to supply the Patriot surface-to-air missile defense system to Ukraine. After approval by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden, the final It will be announced soon this week.
This move will further supplement and strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities against Russia's missile and drone attacks on energy infrastructure, and reduce the pressure on energy supply shortages in winter.
Since Russia launched its offensive on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure on October 10, Russia has launched a concentrated attack almost every week or two, targeting all parts of Ukraine with at least dozens of missiles and drones that are likely to be supplied by Iran. attacks on energy facilities.
As the German IRIS-T SLM air defense system and the NASAMS air defense system made in the United States and Norway have gradually arrived in Ukraine, in conjunction with the Soviet-made S-300, which is the main force of the Ukrainian air defense system, Ukraine seems to have improved its ability to resist Russian missile attacks. promote.
According to Ukrainian data, in the attack on October 10, the Ukrainian army could only shoot down 45 of the 84 incoming missiles, with a success rate slightly higher than 50%. In the past two missile attacks, Ukraine's success rate in intercepting Russian missiles has approached or even exceeded 80%.
At present, the major cities in Ukraine are normally divided and cut off for four hours three times a day, and nearly half of the country's energy facilities have been damaged by Russian attacks.
Such a situation certainly makes people worry about whether the Ukrainian people can support it in the cold winter that can be as low as minus 10 degrees (Celsius) from December to March next year.
But Russia's latest offensive has had less of an impact on Ukraine's power supply than it initially did, and according to Ukrainian and Western intelligence assessments, Russia only has enough missiles to launch several additional offensive rounds.
If Ukraine can survive the next few waves of offensives, Putin's winter energy war against Ukraine will probably end in failure.
Fragments of nuclear-capable Kh-55 cruise missiles have been found several times during Russia's missile attacks on Ukraine.
These missiles were activated in the 1980s, and some of them were exchanged by Ukraine from Ukraine in 1994 in exchange for Russia's promise to ensure Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Now that this weapon has actually appeared on the battlefield in Ukraine, it also reflects the tension in Russia's missile stockpile to a certain extent.
For this lack, the Russian solution seems to be to seek Iranian assistance, which is also anti-American.
In the past few months of attacks, the Ukrainian side has continuously found traces of drones suspected of being made in Iran.
These drones are noisy and slow, but extremely effective at high volumes and from different directions.
Ukraine has estimated that Iran has supplied more than 2,000 drones to Russia. From the end of last month to the beginning of this year, it was even rumored that it was "depleted". However, on December 10, the large-scale power failure in the southern port city of Odessa The drone offensive seems to show that Russia still has a certain number of Iranian drones, or has received a new batch of supplies (note: Iran only admitted to supplying drones to Russia before the war).
Odessa was almost pitch black without power.
At the same time, Ukraine and Western countries are worried that Iran will further export ballistic missiles to Russia.
In addition to making up for the shortcomings of Russian missiles, because Ukraine lacks an air defense system against ballistic missiles—the air defense equipment delivered to Ukraine by the West so far cannot intercept ballistic missiles, and Ukraine’s own S-300 has limited effectiveness in dealing with ballistic missiles—Iran The supply of ballistic missiles will greatly enhance Russia's ability to attack Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
On December 3, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin led a military delegation to visit Iran and attended the fourth meeting of the Joint Military Cooperation Committee established by the two countries last year.
According to information disclosed by a high-level Israeli official to the American media Axios, since the United Nations agreement attached to the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015 prohibits other countries from receiving ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers from Iran, Iran may set limits on its arms exports to Russia. Supply of "Conqueror-110" (Fateh-110) ballistic missiles with a range of just 300 kilometers.
This kind of specific news appeared in the newspapers, which seems to show that Iran is indeed serious about exporting ballistic missiles to Russia.
The power supply was blocked and the heating supply was also affected.
Many Ukrainian people have begun to burn firewood for heating.
On the issue of whether to supply Patriot missiles to Ukraine, the Biden administration has always been extremely hesitant.
At the beginning of the war, in order to prevent the Russian army from gaining air control in Ukraine, the United States was only willing to place Patriot missiles in Slovakia and other countries in exchange for the latter handing over its S-300 to Ukraine.
On the one hand, there was the fear of escalating the war because of not daring to offend Russia; Soldiers are specially trained for this.
Now that the supply of Patriot missiles is imminent, it shows that the United States has real concerns about Iran’s ballistic missiles aiding Russia, so it must be deployed as soon as possible. It also shows that the United States has accepted the unavoidable reality that the war will continue for a long time.
The Patriot missile is equipment that the United States and its allies also have great needs. The decision to use it to aid Ukraine at this moment can also be regarded as a trade-off for the United States, highlighting the importance of the Russia-Ukraine War to the United States.
Regarding the short-range ballistic missiles that Iran may supply to Russia, the Patriot has always proved its ability to intercept on the battlefield.
Last year, the Yemeni Houthi armed group (Houthis), backed by Iranian weapons, intensively used ballistic missiles across the border to attack Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia mainly relied on patriots to intercept them.
At that time, it was reported that Saudi Arabia was seeking to sell hundreds of Patriot missiles to the United States. By August of this year, the United States also announced that it would export 300 sets of Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia, with a total value of US$3 billion.
It can be seen that the Patriots will have a major boost on the Ukrainian battlefield.
However, from the decision to send the Patriot missiles to Ukraine to the implementation, it may take months of training time, and the model of the Patriot missiles that the United States will lose to Ukraine has yet to be determined.
How much impact this new weapon will have on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict remains to be seen.
However, this uncertainty is largely a matter of time.
When the Patriot is fully put into use on the Ukrainian battlefield, Putin will lose another hand that can be used to restrain Ukraine.
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