A top Pentagon spokesperson on Thursday said comments from Russian officials would not ‘dictate’ the U.S.’ decisions on what security equipment will be provided to Ukraine to assist in its fight against Moscow’s ongoing invasion.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, was asked during a press briefing about reports of Russia warning of “unpredictable consequences” if the U.S. were to deliver the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2022. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders)

“I would just say that I find it ironic and very telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor in an illegal and unprovoked invasion through a campaign that is deliberately targeting and killing innocent civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure that they would choose to use words like provocative to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and protect civilians,” Ryder said in response. “Again, we are not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine”

Ryder reiterated to reporters on Thursday that he had no announcements on new security assistance for Ukraine and nothing to confirm regarding the potential delivery of Raytheon Technologies [RTX]-built Patriots. 

“The U.S. is not at war with Russia and we do not seek conflict. Our focus is on providing Ukraine with the security assistance that it needs to defend itself. And that’s something we said we would do well before Russia chose to invade and something we will continue to do for as long as it takes,” Ryder said.

Several media outlets reported this week that the Biden administration was finalizing plans to provide the Patriot system to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in late October called the Patriot system an “extreme priority,” as Kyiv looks to bolster its air defense capability against Russian attacks (Defense Daily, Oct. 28). 

“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.”