Ukraine is looking to purchase a small number of surface-to-air missile systems from the United States, possibly Patriots, amid a recent spike in tensions with separatists in the country’s eastern Donbas region, as well as their chief backer, Russia. The move also comes as the U.S. government is expanding arms deals with the government in Kiev, including the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles, and has even recently bought a Ukrainian air defense radar for its own analysis and training use.
On Aug. 28, 2018, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly explained his country’s desire to buy unspecified American-made air defense weapons in an interview with the country’s Radio NV. Chaly said that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko had raised the matter directly with U.S. President Donald Trump during a brief meeting the two had in Brussels on the sidelines of the NATO summit in July 2018. He also said that authorities in Kiev had discussed the possible purchase separately with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“Ukraine has requested to official Washington for a possible sale of air defense systems worth $750 million for one unit,” Chaly told Radio NV, according to a translation from Defence Blog. “If necessary, [Ukraine could purchase] at least three appropriate military complexes for the Ukrainian army.”
Though Chaly did not say what American-made air defense system Ukraine was interested in acquiring, the figures he outlined would be well in line with Raytheon's Patriot surface-to-air missile system. Earlier in 2018, the U.S. government approved the sale of four Patriot Advanced Capability-3+ (PAC-3+) systems to Sweden in a deal worth a total of approximately $3.2 billion. This would mean each system cost $800 million, but it is worth noting that the complete package included training and other support services and ancillary equipment that would not be part of the base system’s unit cost.