The Patriot air missile defense systems, which are accelerating the United States into Ukraine, will best serve Kiev’s armed forces by defending Ukraine’s key cities and infrastructure, said retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling.
On Tuesday, US military officials announced an accelerated timeline for the arrival of the Patriot systems, which the Department of Defense (DoD) promised late last year. While previous estimates said the systems could take up to a full year to arrive in Ukraine, officials at the Fort Sill, Oklahoma, base said the 65 Ukrainian soldiers who trained on the system will be ready in the coming days will be.
Politically According to reports, base officials spoke to a small group of reporters invited to view the training logs and said that the Ukrainian troops and two donated Patriot systems will be on the battlefield in a few weeks, along with other soldiers who also learned how to use the Patriots donated by Germany and the Netherlands.
Hertling, who served as commanding general of US Army Europe, spoke with CNN reporters Natasha Bertrand and Jake Tapper on Tuesday to discuss the accelerated timetable and offered his perspective on where Ukraine’s defense systems could best be deployed .
“It’s a point defense system,” Hertling said. “It must be placed in a location that defends a target like a capital city of Kiev or a port city like Odessa. This is not a weapon system that can be moved around the battlefield based on changing threats. It has to be placed somewhere to defend it.”
“I would guess that the most important targets are probably some of the cities that were attacked or some of the infrastructure that were attacked by the Russians,” he added.
Russian airstrikes have caused power outages across Ukraine in the past, as Russian President Vladimir Putin began targeting civilian infrastructure in recent months. This month Russian missiles knocked out power supplies to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and airstrikes were also reported in Kiev, the BBC said.
The Patriot defense system could provide Ukraine with a long-term defense plan as the country prepares for heavy fighting in the spring.
Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, also announced Tuesday that the Department of Defense will begin overhauling existing M1A1 Abrams tanks to speed up the timeline for their arrival in Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced in January that the US would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine as part of a new defense package, and they were originally scheduled to take up to two years to arrive in the war-torn nation.
Hertling told CNN that the Abrams tanks, which should reach Ukraine by the fall, will most likely be stationed in locations where Ukraine has breakthroughs in its offensive campaigns, which the retired general expects to make in the coming weeks some of the other tanks could take the place of vehicles already sent by European allies.
“[The Abrams tanks] will be in a place where Ukrainian commanders will say, ‘This is where we can make the biggest difference when it comes to attacking Russia,'” concluded Hertling.
news week emailed the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/retired-us-general-reveals-where-ukraine-should-use-us-patriot-systems-1789386 Retired US general reveals where Ukraine should deploy US Patriot systems