The Netherlands is considering sending a Patriot missile system to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Washington on Tuesday, which would broaden the West’s response to Kyiv’s urgent requests for the ground-based air defense system.
Mr. Rutte, who made the remarks seated next to President Biden in the Oval Office during a morning visit, said that a Russian attack on the city of Dnipro, which killed dozens of people in one residential building, had strengthened “our resolve to stay with Ukraine” amid deepening concerns over the Ukrainians’ ability to withstand another possible Russian offensive.
“We have the intention to join what you are doing with Germany on the Patriot project, so the air defense system,” Mr. Rutte told Mr. Biden. “I think that it’s important we join that, and I discussed it also this morning with Olaf Scholz of Germany,.”
The Department of Defense and the White House referred to the Dutch questions on whether a firm commitment had been made. The Dutch Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Pressure has grown on Germany and the United States to follow Britain’s lead in pledging to send tanks to Ukraine, but neither government has said that it would do so.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that the strike in Dnipro was a further example of the “brutal and barbaric war” against the Ukrainian people. But she did not answer questions about whether the United States would send tanks to Ukraine, or whether the United States was waiting for Western allies to move first before responding.
The Biden administration said on Tuesday that Mr. Biden had spoken to Mr. Scholz, the German chancellor, by phone. The two leaders “discussed their steadfast support to Ukraine and condemned Russia’s aggression,” according to a readout from the administration, but neither announced a decision to send tanks.