The Biden administration will send to Ukraine the most advanced air defense weapon in its arsenal, the Patriot missile system

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The Biden administration will send to Ukraine the most advanced air defense weapon in its arsenal, the Patriot missile system, a senior administration official said late Tuesday, marking the most significant addition to American military support for the government in Kyiv in months.

Biden administration to send Patriot missile system to Ukraine© AP

The Patriot is to be included in a new $2 billion package of weapons that President Biden plans to unveil Wednesday, marking the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington, said the official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity in advance of a formal announcement.

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The visit, during which Zelensky will visit Biden at the White House and address a joint session of Congress, comes as Russia carries out a relentless campaign of airstrikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and electrical grid, which has plunged much of the country into darkness.

Ukraine is to receive one Patriot battery, which has up to eight launchers each that hold between four and 16 missiles, depending on the type of munition used. U.S. forces will train Ukrainians to operate and maintain the system in a third country, probably Germany. “This will take some time,” the official said, “but Ukrainian troops will take that training back to their country to operate this battery.” It is unlikely that the air defense system will arrive in Ukraine before spring.

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