A top Pentagon spokesperson on Tuesday said there are currently no plans ‘right now’ to provide Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine, while reiterating air defense remains a priority for capabilities to support Kyiv in its fight against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

“We discuss a wide variety of capabilities in support with Ukraine. We regularly consult with Ukraine. We regularly consult with our allies and our partners on what [Ukraine’s] defense needs are. Air defense continues to be a top priority for DoD and for the international community when it comes to supporting Ukraine. In terms of any type of Patriot battery from the U.S., right now we have no plans to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine. But, again, we’ll continue to have those discussions and when and if there’s something to announce on that front we will,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters during a briefing.

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, fire the MIM-104 Patriot to destroy a drone target Jul. 16, 2021, at Camp Growl in Queensland, Australia, during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alyssa Chuluda).

Ryder’s remarks followed comments earlier in the day from a senior defense official who said during a briefing that “Patriot is one of the air defense capabilities that is being considered” when asked if the system could be provided to Ukraine.

“I would say that on air defense, this is our top priority, and we are looking at all the possible capabilities that could help the Ukrainians withstand Russian attacks. So, you know, all of the capabilities are on the table and we are looking at what the United States can do, we’re looking at what our allies and partners can do, and, you know, looking at combinations of capabilities that would be useful,” the senior defense official said. “I’m just going to say that all capabilities are on the table.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in late October called the Raytheon Technologies [RTX]-built Patriot system an “extreme priority,” as Kyiv looks to bolster its air defense capability against Russian attacks.

“If you would say, ‘Yes, we can give you Patriots,’ I would go myself to the U.S. for them. It’s really important for our people,” Zelenskyy said via English translation during a Yale School of Management discussion. “We have to defend our skies. If my memory serves me right, I’ve been saying that since the first days of the war. Aviation and aerial defense, this is what we lack. We need to defend our skies to defend our children. Russia can do nothing against us on land.”

The U.S. has committed to providing eight of Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg’s jointly developed NASAMS air defense system to Ukraine, which brings together Raytheon’s Sentinel radar and Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles with Kongsberg’s Fire Distribution Center, with the first two systems now in Kyiv and operational.

“When it comes to air defense, I think you’ve seen a significant outpouring of support for Ukraine in terms of what we have already provided, for example NASAMS and other systems. When it comes to certain capabilities like Patriot missiles or M1 tanks or advanced fighter aircraft, you’re talking about a pretty significant maintenance and sustainment tail as well as a training tail on those things. So none of these systems are plug-and-play. You can’t just show up on the battlefield and start using them. And so, those are the kinds of things that are taken into account when it comes to more advanced systems,” Ryder said on Tuesday.

Ryder was also asked about the U.S.’ role if an ally decided to send Patriot battery equipment to Ukraine as part of a security assistance effort.

“Well, I don’t want to speak for other countries, certainly. That’s a sovereign decision. As it relates to NATO, I would imagine it would also be part of a NATO discussion. Again, we’re going to continue to work closely with the international community on looking at what Ukraine’s defense needs are and ensuring that they get them,” Ryder said.