The Biden administration will rush advanced air defense missiles to Ukraine by delaying certain weapons shipments to other countries, a move that a White House spokesman described on Thursday as “difficult but necessary” given Russian advances in the war.

The spokesman, John F. Kirby, said Ukraine had a critical need for Patriot interceptor missiles as Russia accelerated attacks against cities and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. He did not name the other countries affected but said the decision would not apply to weapons shipments to Israel or Taiwan.

“The broader message here to Russia is clear,” Mr. Kirby told reporters. “If you think you’re going to be able to outlast Ukraine, and if you think you’re going to be able to outlast those of us who are supporting Ukraine, you’re just flat-out wrong.”

Russia and Ukraine are in their third year of war, with no clear path to military victory for either side. The two countries increasingly are fighting a war of attrition, firing thousands of artillery shells, missiles and rockets every day.

The Patriot could be crucial as Ukraine tries to improve its air defenses, particularly when it comes to its power grid and other infrastructure, which Russia has been pummeling. The weapon is the most advanced Western air defense system provided to Ukraine thus far and can shoot down Russian ballistic missiles and warplanes at ranges of approximately 40 and 70 miles, respectively.

About a half-dozen countries in the Middle East and Europe are buying Patriot missiles from the United States, said Tom Karako, the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The White House’s announcement was a reminder of the extraordinary demand for air-defense capacity and production, he said. “Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is never a fun choice,” Mr. Karako added.

Mr. Kirby said the shipments to Ukraine would be “in the realm of hundreds” and start in the coming weeks.

U.S. officials began exploring how to fast-track the Patriot defense missiles in early April, as Russian airstrikes battered Ukraine and Congress still had not passed billions in aid for Kyiv, according to a senior Biden administration official. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

By late May, the United States was notifying affected countries of the plan, the person said.

Mr. Biden briefed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on the decision during their meeting in Italy last week and referred to the decision during a news conference.

“Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met,” Mr. Biden said. “And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries.”

The White House’s decision will also speed deliveries of missiles to Ukraine for use in the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, which is produced by the United States and Norway. While less capable than the Patriot, NASAMS has been heavily used to defend key infrastructure sites in Ukraine. Its ammunition is far more plentiful in stockpiles of NATO member states.

The time frame on delayed shipments to other counties varied based on their individual contracts, Mr. Kirby said. The United States had notified allies of the delays, and many were “fully supportive” of the move.

“If any of our other partners were ever in a situation similar to Ukraine’s, we would go to extraordinary lengths to support their security as well,” Mr. Kirby said. “This decision demonstrates our commitment to supporting our partners when they’re in existential danger.”

The announcement comes as the Biden administration has ramped up efforts in recent weeks to blunt Russia’s efforts to bolster its military.

On Wednesday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia visited North Korea, where he and Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, agreed that if one country found itself in a state of war, then the other would provide “military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay,” according to the text of the agreement.

Mr. Kirby said the pact was a sign of Russia’s desperation as it turns to pariah nations for weapons to sustain its war in Ukraine.

“They don’t have a lot of friends in the world, and they’re trying to do everything they can to pull on the strings of the friends that they do have,” he said. “Russia’s absolutely isolated on the world stage; they’ve been forced to rely again on countries like North Korea and Iran.”



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