Zelensky adviser promises ‘good news ahead’ as US preps more air defence deliveries

Ukrainian officials may be getting the upgraded air defence systems they’ve been asking for

Andrew Feinberg
Tuesday 25 October 2022 20:35 BST
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A top Ukrainian government official’s cryptic tweet could be a sign that the US is preparing to augment Kyiv’s air defence capabilities with a widely-used surface-to-air missile system.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the Biden Administration is considering using the president’s “drawdown authority” allowing him to provide allies with existing stocks of weapons to arm Ukraine’s defence forces with the MIM-23 HAWK missile system.

Two US defence officials said the HAWK — which stands for “Homing All The Way Killer” — would be an upgrade from the Stinger man-portable air defence system which Ukrainian forces have been employing against Russian jets and cruise missiles.

Although HAWK dates back to the Vietnam era, the systems have recieved multiple upgrades over the years and although it was last fielded by the US Marine Corps in 2020, it has remained popular with US allies and is currently employed by Turkish and Iraqi defence forces.

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Any US-owned HAWK systems provided to Ukraine would supplement four launchers which Spanish authorities said they’d turn over to Kyiv earlier this month.

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly asked American officials to upgrade their air defence capacity, and his chief of staff Andriy Yermak appeared to allude to the request being granted in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Mr Yermak told his 996,000 followers there would be “good news soon,” with his message accompanied by a Statue of Liberty emoji.

Neither Mr Yermak nor representatives of Mr Zelensky’s office immediately responded to a request for comment from The Independent.

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