US sends secret Soviet-era air defense system to Ukraine
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on March 21 reported that the US is transferring some Soviet-made air defense equipment that the Pentagon secretly obtained decades ago. Among these are anti-aircraft missiles designated by NATO as SA-8, researched, developed by the Soviet Union and put on the market since the 1970s. SA-8 is a familiar weapon for the military of Ukraine, the country also inherited this missile after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the WSJ’s request to confirm information that the United States used Soviet weapons in stock to deliver to Ukraine.
For decades, the United States possessed a small number of Soviet missile defense systems. The purpose is for US intelligence experts to research and dissect to support training for the US military.
These covert efforts were first exposed in 1994, when a Soviet-built transport plane appeared at Huntsville, Alabama airport that just standing on a nearby highway could be important. accessible to the naked eye. It was later confirmed that the plane carrying a US S-300 defense system was purchased from Belarus through a secret project carried out by a Pentagon contractor at a cost of up to $ 100 million.
The S-300, designated by NATO as SA-10, is a modern long-range missile defense system, intended to protect a larger battlefield area, with a wider radius. SA-8 is a short-range tactical air defense system, designed to integrate with ground forces, creating firepower against enemy aircraft and helicopters. Although the range is shorter, but SA-8 has the advantage of high mobility, easy to hide.
Several types of Soviet-era weapons are still kept at the Redstone depot in Alabama. On the webiste, Redstone introduces itself as “the US Army Center for Rocket and Missile Programs”. An unnamed official said there were weapons at this warehouse that were delivered to Ukraine, but there were no S-300s from Belarus.
A spending bill worth more than $1.5 trillion, passed by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden, mentions that the country’s Department of Defense is authorized to transfer the Ukrainian military and the Organization to the United States. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aircraft, ammunition, combat vehicles, and other military equipment deployed abroad or in storage in the United States. US officials say the Soviet-era air defense system is covered by the law and that the US Congress has been notified of the Pentagon’s decision to ship the weapon to Ukraine.
Ukraine also possesses a number of Soviet and Russian-made air defense systems, including the S-300. However, the country’s military needs to be supplemented with such medium and long-range defense systems to be able to intercept Russian aircraft and missiles. The Stinger man-portable air defense missile that the US and many NATO countries aid to Ukraine is only effective in preventing and destroying helicopters and low-altitude military aircraft.
The US hopes the addition of defense systems like the S-300 will help Ukraine create a de facto “no-fly zone” over its airspace, after the White House and NATO repeatedly rejected the request. of Kiev on the establishment of a no-fly zone. The US and the West fear such an action could lead to direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.
President Biden will travel to Brussels this week to attend a NATO summit to discuss “deterrence and defense” efforts in support of Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also recently visited countries on the eastern flank of NATO, consulting, and looking for ways to increase the delivery of defensive weapons to Ukraine. .
Minister Austin last week went to Slovakia, to visit due to the possibility of transferring a S-300 complex from Slovakia to Ukraine. Slovakia says it is ready to do so if the US provides a corresponding alternative system. But there is no final agreement on this plan yet.
at Blogtuan.info – Source: baotintuc.vn – Read the original article here