US to Give Ukraine Priority Access to New Air Defense Interceptors

The move will delay shipments to South Korea and the UAE

The US will try to surge missile defense weapons into Ukraine by giving Kiev priority access to new production. Washington will take Patriot and NASAMS interceptors intended for other allies and ship them to the war-torn state.

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Joe Biden informed allies that their shipments of air defense munitions would be delayed as Kiev is prioritized over the next 16 months. The outlet says South Korea and the UAE are expected to be most impacted by the move.

The decision comes as Kiev is struggling to defend its cities, troops, and critical infrastructure from Russian missiles and bombs. The AP reports viewing satellite imagery show that Russia has stepped up its attacks on Ukrainian cities in recent months.

While the US plans to send Ukraine interceptors for its Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems, Kiev is hoping to receive launchers and radars as well. President Zelensky has requested an additional seven systems, but only Romania has agreed to send one Patriot platform.

RTX, formerly Raytheon, makes the Patriots and is the former employer of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Patriots are the most expensive interceptor in the American arsenal, with the system carrying a $1 billion price tag, while each interceptor runs the US taxpayer $4 million.

Although Washington has urged Kiev to curtail attacks on Russian energy infrastructure to avoid Moscow’s retaliation in kind, Ukraine continues to strike its neighbor’s oil refineries. On Wednesday, a Ukrainian defense official said Kiev had successfully set fire to an oil facility in southern Russia during a drone raid.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.