December 9, 2022

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Germany is in talks with allies about Polish pressure to deploy Patriot missiles in Ukraine

Germany is in talks with allies about Polish pressure to deploy Patriot missiles in Ukraine

  • NATO says the decision to deploy Patriots is up to a particular country
  • Poland requested that German bombers be sent to western Ukraine

BERLIN/WARSAW (Reuters) – Germany said on Friday it was discussing with allied Poland a request to send German Patriot air defense units to Ukraine, after the NATO chief indicated the military alliance might not oppose such a move.

“We are talking with our allies about how to deal with Poland’s proposal,” a German government spokesman told reporters in Berlin.

Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send firefighting units to Ukraine instead.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said such deployments should be decisions of individual countries, taking into account the rules regarding end users.

“Specific decisions on specific systems are national decisions,” he told reporters in Brussels.

“Sometimes there are end-user agreements and other things so they need to consult with other allies. But at the end of the day, (the decision) has to be made by national governments,” he added.

Stoltenberg’s comments came after German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Thursday that the participation of German Patriot units outside NATO territory requires prior discussions with NATO and allies.

Patriot missiles are produced by the American company Raytheon (RTX.N).

On Friday, the Polish president said it was Germany’s decision where to station its Patriot air defense units, adding that it would be better for Poland’s security if they were on Ukrainian soil near the border.

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“From a military point of view, it would be better if they were present in Ukraine to protect Polish lands as well, they would protect both Ukraine and Poland more effectively,” Andrzej Duda said at a press conference in Kaunas, Lithuania. But the decision is up to the German side.

Duda later said that Germany could send Patriot units to Ukraine without NATO forces to operate them, something he says Kyiv has been asking for for a while.

“But if there is no consent for this, let him be here (in Poland) and protect us,” Duda wrote on Twitter.

On the sidelines of NATO exercises in northeastern Poland, Blaszczak took a jab in Berlin by saying he was taken aback by the idea that German Patriots might be too advanced to be transported to Ukraine.

“These are the old patriots and the Polish version is the latest,” he said. “The claim that the old German Patriots are very advanced is not true.”

Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold, Bart Meagher and Miranda Murray; Additional reporting by Alain Sharlich, Pawel Florkiewicz, Anna Wlodarczak-Simczuk in Warsaw; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Philippa Fletcher, William McLean

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