Berlin made it clear Thursday that the Patriot air defense units it has offered to Poland are intended for use on NATO territory, refuting Warsaw’s demands to send the system to Ukraine.
“These patriots are part of NATO’s integrated air defense, which means they are intended to be deployed on NATO territory,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in Berlin.
“Any use outside NATO territory requires prior discussions with NATO and allies,” she added.
Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defense system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Wednesday that he had asked Germany to send the Patriot fire units to Ukraine instead.
“After further Russian missile attacks, I have asked Germany to transfer the Patriot batteries offered to Poland to Ukraine and place them on the western border,” Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.
On Monday, Poland said it would propose deploying the additional Patriot missile launchers near the border with Ukraine.
Ground-based air defense systems, such as Raytheon’s Patriot, are built to intercept incoming missiles.
But the systems are in short supply in NATO, as many post-Cold War NATO allies scaled back their numbers to reflect the assessment that from now on they would only face a limited missile threat from countries like Iran.
This perception changed dramatically with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prompting NATO allies to rush to increase stockpiles of ammunition and address the shortcomings of the air defense system.
Germany had 36 Patriot units when it was NATO’s front line during the Cold War and even then it relied on support from NATO allies. Today, only 12 Patriot units remain, two of which are deployed in Slovakia.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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