Washington has promised Kiev priority treatment in receiving American arms FILE PHOTO: Patriot missile launchers at the Warsaw Babice Airport in Poland. © Attila Husejnow / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Image

The US has delayed the contracted delivery of long-range interceptor missiles to Switzerland in order to prioritize Ukraine’s military needs, Swiss media reported on Tuesday citing authorities.

President Joe Biden announced last week that foreign buyers of American arms will have to get in line behind Kiev, saying Ukraine needs them more in order to keep fighting Russia. Switzerland is among the nations affected by the decision, the daily newspaper Blick reported.

Last fall, the European nation ordered PAC-3 missiles for the US-designed Patriot system, worth 300 million Swiss francs ($340 million). However, the promised shipments will not come on time due to the Ukraine conflict, several sources in the Swiss defense ministry told the news outlet, which it described as Kiev “snatching” the arms. The Swiss military later confirmed to the press that the report was true.

The situation shows that “Switzerland needs an independent and robust defense industry again, and to diversify procurement among manufacturers and countries,” it said.

Biden tells arms buyers to wait behind Ukraine Biden tells arms buyers to wait behind Ukraine

The US last year authorized Switzerland to procure up to 72 advanced MSE PAC-3 interceptor missiles for a total price of $700 million. The delivery was expected sometime in the late 2020s or early 2030s, according to sources. It remains unclear how the new delay will affect the schedule.

Washington reportedly said the change of the contract terms fit the ‘force majeure’ clause, which allows for the alteration of an agreement due to serious unforeseen circumstances. The Ukraine crisis constitutes a national security issue for the US, it reportedly told Swiss officials.

“This is like during the Covid-19 pandemic: when there are problems, each country looks after itself,” Swiss MP Thomas Hurter told Blick of the situation. “The US decision shows how quickly reliability can change.”

He urged the government to revisit its plan to phase out the current fleet of fighter jets, which it intends to replace with Lockheed-made F-35s. Switzerland ordered 36 of them last year for a sum of over $6.8 billion to be supplied between 2027 and 2030, so that its Air Force could retire the aging F-5 Tigers and F/A-18 Hornets. (RT)