Ukraine has received an advanced air defense system sent by the United States to support its war with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky first announced in an interview that aired on Sunday.
Zelensky said in an interview for CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that his country now has National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), a weapon that Kiev has been looking for for a long time.
The Biden government approved the shipment of six missile systems as part of a deadly relief package worth nearly $3 billion to help Kiev fight the Kremlin invasion at the end of last month.
Zelensky thanked the US for the system and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HMARS) it received, but added that his troops “absolutely need the United States to show leadership and give Ukraine additional air defense systems,” which they have requested.
“Believe me, it’s not even close enough to cover the civil infrastructure, schools, hospitals, universities and homes of Ukrainians,” he said according to a transcript of the interview.
NASAMS, a medium-range air defense system, is a weapon designed in Norway and the USA to identify and deactivate aircraft, cruise missiles, and drones. The systems used to protect the airspace around the White House are typically used to protect important assets or the civilian population.
“These are proven systems that will make a real difference on the battlefield,” William LaPlante, Under-Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainability, said on August 31 when announcing NASAMS broadcasts.
The new NASAMS are a welcome delivery for Ukraine, which has made significant gains in a counteroffensive that began earlier this month. Kiev has managed to reclaim huge swathes of territory in the northeastern Kharkiv region and in the south.
Zelensky, however, called for even more weapons, including tanks, artillery, and more air defense systems, as well as financial support to keep his military pace running as winter approaches.