Ukraine, US, and Israel negotiating transfer of eight Patriot batteries – FT
Patriot (Photo - ERA)

The United States, Israel, and Ukraine are in talks to supply Kyiv with up to eight Patriot air defense systems, according to a Financial Times report citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

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The deal, not yet finalized, likely involves sending Patriots from Israel to the United States first, then to Ukraine, the publication states.

Five sources informed on the matter told FT that ministers and senior officials from the three countries have discussed this agreement, which could signal a change in Israel's relationship with Moscow.

Israel announced in April plans to decommission eight of its 30-year-old Patriot batteries, replacing them with more advanced systems.

However, batteries used in Israel's current war with Hamas have not been decommissioned due to fears that tensions with Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah could escalate into full-scale war.

If Israeli Patriots are transferred to Ukraine, it would boost Ukraine's defense capabilities, FT notes. Currently, Ukraine has at least four such systems from the US and Germany.

Israel has been cautious about taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine war, considering Moscow's influence in Syria, where Israeli aircraft often operate against Iran-backed forces, the publication explains.

However, US officials have tried to convince Netanyahu's government that Russia's growing ties with Iran, particularly in military cooperation, are a more pressing concern.

Overall, the United States provides Israel with about $3.8 billion annually in military aid and allocated an additional $14 billion in emergency funds after the Hamas war began.

While transferring all eight Patriots was discussed, four sources told FT that not all air defense systems might ultimately go to Ukraine.

Three sources reported that Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has been negotiating with his US counterpart Antony Blinken in recent weeks, while White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has spoken at least twice with the head of Ukraine's presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, on the issue.

Kuleba told FT that Ukraine continues working with various countries to obtain additional Patriots, reiterating calls for all countries possessing these systems to provide them.

One of the sources says that in addition to talks with the United States, Ukraine has also been in dialogue with Israel regarding the Patriots.

The US and Ukrainian governments declined to comment, while Israel's Defense Ministry did not respond to FT's inquiry.

Israeli Patriot M901 PAC-2 batteries are older than those Ukraine has received but still compatible with newer models, experts told the publication.

One FT source reported that Israel has sufficient missiles for Patriots. Analysts told the media that these older missiles have greater range and payload than newer models, potentially intercepting Russian aircraft dropping guided bombs on Ukraine.

Former officials and analysts told the media that Israeli Patriots would likely be sold back to the United States, which could then send them to Ukraine.

Read also: Ukraine signs security agreements with EU, Estonia, and Lithuania