Has the Pentagon changed its mind? Should the well-known “Patriot” anti-aircraft missiles be delivered to Ukraine after all? At least the eXXpress discovered on an airfield in a small town in Poland, only 80 kilometers as the crow flies from the Ukrainian border, indications that the two “Patriot” batteries of the US armed forces should perhaps not remain in Poland after all: under the thick tarpaulins parked heavy trucks in dark olive green – with Ukrainian license plates.
And: A large number of civilian articulated lorries were parked on the airfield, which could be used to transport military material across the Near Border to the Ukraine without being noticed.
So far, the Pentagon in Washington has always officially denied wanting to hand over several units of the “Patriot” air defense system requested by President Volodymyr Zelenskyj to the Ukrainian government. Zelenskyj’s wish is understandable: after all, more than 600 Russian cruise missiles have already caused serious damage in many cities and barracks in Ukraine.
The current situation on the airfield in Poland now provides some indications that the US Department of Defense’s opinion may have changed: a large US government jet landed when the eXXpress was also on site. And a gigantic cargo plane is parked on the apron, and dozens of Humvee off-road vehicles, military trucks and several mobile radar stations are parked on the strip of grass next to the runway.
The MIM-104 “Patriot” missiles are short-range missiles with a range of 70 to 160 kilometers for defense against aircraft, cruise missiles and also medium-range ballistic missiles. One of these rockets costs more than two million euros, the missile weighs 900 kilos and is around five meters long. The “Patriot” system is used in 18 nations. The crews of the “Patriot” batteries achieved good success in the second Iraq war (2003), the US Army put the success rate at 80%.
With this system, the Ukrainian armed forces could not only better secure the airspace, but also intercept 80% of incoming Russian Kalibr cruise missiles. Due to their maximum range, the “Patriot” missiles stationed on the Ukrainian border in Poland could already attack incoming targets as far as Lemberg (Lviv).
Lviv has already come under fire from Russian cruise missiles: a large barracks where volunteer foreign fighters for the Ukrainian army were trained and equipped was destroyed, killing 35 and seriously injuring 134. Lviv is also considered one of the largest supply centers for the Ukrainian army.