Ukrainian foreign minister stresses need for more weapons: ‘Give us the damn Patriots’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is sounding the alarm on Ukraine’s need for more weapons to fight against Russia, while further aid for the embattled nation remains held up in Congress.

“Give us the damn Patriots,” Kuleba said in an interview with Politico, published Monday. “If we had enough air defense systems, namely Patriots, we would be able to protect not only the lives of our people, but also our economy from destruction.”

The Patriot missile defense system is the most advanced air and missile defense system in the world and is used by more than a dozen countries. It can engage ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as enemy aircraft.

Ukrainian forces are struggling to defend themselves against Russia’s bombs, Kuleba told Politico.

“When Ukrainian troops are losing positions, let’s look at the reason why. It is because Russia has began to massively use upgraded aerial guided bombs,” he said.

If you are the target of these bombs, Kuleba said “you cannot escape from” them.

“You cannot jam it. It just falls on your head and destroys everything. This is how we’re losing positions and the only way to prevent this is to shoot down the planes carrying the bombs,” he said. “We need air-defense systems on the frontlines.”

The U.S. provided Ukraine with the Patriot missile defense system in 2022 and sent Kyiv a new emergency military aid package worth $300 million earlier this month.

Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, noted Ukraine does not have enough ammunition to fight back against Russian fire when he announced the package two weeks ago.

“That’s costing terrain, it’s costing lives, and it’s costing us the United States and NATO Alliance strategically,” he said.

Congress has not passed a funding bill for Ukraine since the end of 2022, when a Democratic majority passed its fourth aid package for the country. The Senate passed a $95 billion defense and foreign aid package last month, which would have included $60 billion in aid for Kyiv.

When the package was sent to the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisted on not bringing it to the floor as it lacks the border security measures demanded by House GOP members.

Johnson offered up an alternative plan, telling Republican senators earlier this month he would send the upper chamber a new package with funding for Kyiv. He noted the package will likely look very different from the Senate’s $95 billion package, and floated the idea of making the House’s foreign aid package a loan or lend-lease program to relieve some of the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas)said earlier this week that Johnson is committed to putting a vote for Ukraine funding on the House floor some time after Easter.

Kuleba said Ukraine “will welcome a decision” on funding from Capitol Hill.

“Every time I hear a new deadline, I just say, ‘God bless America and the U.S. Congress,’” he said.

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