(Kyiv) Ukraine’s Defense Minister announced on Wednesday that his country had received US-made Patriot surface-to-air guided missile systems, which it had long requested and which Kyiv hopes will help it protect from Russian strikes during the war.

“Today our beautiful Ukrainian skies are safer as Patriot air defense systems have arrived in Ukraine,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter.

Ukrainian officials have already said that the arrival of the Patriot systems, which Washington agreed to send last October, would be a major boost and a milestone in the war against the massive invasion from Moscow.

Patriots can target aircraft, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles. Russia has used this weaponry to bomb Ukraine, including residential areas and civilian infrastructure, especially electricity supplies during the winter.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said late Tuesday that the delivery of the system would be a historic event, as it would allow the Ukrainians to destroy Russian targets at a greater distance.

Mr. Reznikov thanked the people of the United States, Germany and the Netherlands, without specifying how many systems had been delivered or when.

The German federal government’s website reported on Tuesday that a Patriot system was among the military equipment delivered to Ukraine over the past week, and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock confirmed this on Wednesday before officials. parliamentarians in Berlin.

Reznikov said he first requested Patriot systems when he visited the United States in August 2021, five months before the full invasion by Kremlin forces and seven years after the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russia. He described owning the system as “a dream”, but said he was told in the United States at the time that it was “impossible”.

Ukrainian personnel have been trained in the Patriot Battery, which may require up to 90 men to operate and maintain.

“Our air defenders have mastered (the Patriot systems) as much as they could. And our partners have kept their word,” Mr. Reznikov wrote.

Experts have warned of the limited effectiveness of the system, which may not be a game-changer in the war, even if it will strengthen Ukraine’s arsenal against its greatest enemy.

The Patriot was first deployed by the United States in the 1980s. According to analysts, the system costs around US$4 million per shell and the launchers cost around US10 million each. At such a cost, it is not beneficial to use the Patriot to shoot down the much smaller and cheaper Iranian drones that Russia has purchased and used in Ukraine.

Authorities in Kyiv reported daily civilian casualties, but no military casualties, from Russian shelling.

At least four civilians were killed and 27 others were injured in Ukraine on Tuesday and overnight, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service.

A 50-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were killed in a Russian airstrike on a border town in the Kharkiv region, the region’s governor, Oleh Syniehubov, announced during a televised intervention.

Russian forces launched 12 rocket, artillery, mortar, tank and drone attacks on the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said, killing one civilian on one market in the center of Kherson, the eponymous capital of the region, and at a nearby school.

At least four civilians were killed and 27 others were injured in Ukraine on Tuesday and overnight, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service.

Russian forces also fired explosive drones at night at the Odessa region in southern Ukraine.