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New US $2-bln military aid package to Kiev to include Patriot systems — US administration

Ukrainian troops will be trained in a third country to use those systems

WASHINGTON, December 21. /TASS/. US President Joe Biden will announce another US military aid package to the Kiev government worth almost $2 billion, which will include Patriot missile defense systems, a high-ranking US administration official told reporters.

"Tomorrow, President Biden will announce a significant new package of nearly $2 billion of security assistance for Ukraine. It will contain a very important new capability - a Patriot missile battery," the official said at a briefing dedicated to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s visit to the US scheduled for December 21.

According to him, the Patriot missile battery "will be a critical asset" against Russian strikes on Ukraine's critical infrastructure. Ukrainian troops will be trained to use those systems in a third country, which "will take some time."

"We will continue to prioritize other forms of air defense support as well, including NASAMS, Hawks, Stingers and counter-UAV equipment," the official added.

CNN reported earlier that Washington was finalizing plans to send Ukraine Patriot missile defense systems. Moscow, however, warned Washington against providing such weapons to Kiev. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Patriot systems would be regarded as legitimate targets by the Russian Armed Forces, should Washington supply them to Kiev.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. In response, the West imposed major sanctions on Russia. In addition, Western countries started to provide weapons and military equipment to Kiev, whose total value is currently estimated at billions of dollars.