Poland Stations German Patriots Air Defence System
After much back and forth, the Patriot air defence system will now be stationed on Polish territory. The opposition sees the credibility of the government in Warsaw as damaged.
According to Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland will accept an offer from Germany to move a Patriot anti-aircraft battery.
The German government made the offer to Warsaw at the end of November, shortly after a rocket hit near the Ukrainian border, killing two Poles. Blaszczak initially accepted the offer “with satisfaction”. However, the leader of the ruling PiS party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said the system should be better stationed in Ukraine. The Minister of Defense and other Polish politicians followed his line.
Blaszczak reiterated on Twitter on Tuesday that he regrets that Germany does not want to use the Patriot system in Ukraine. “I was disappointed with the decision to decline support for Ukraine,” he wrote. “The deployment of the Patriots in western Ukraine would increase the security of Poles and Ukrainians.”
Nonetheless, both sides would proceed with preparations for deploying the missiles in Poland and connecting them to the Polish command system. Germany has said the Patriot system offered to Poland is part of NATO’s integrated air defence system and may only be used on NATO territory.
Politicians and observers have criticized the PiS for suggesting it does not want to adopt the Patriot system. The party has been accused of endangering the country’s security at a time of war in neighbouring Ukraine by trying to incite anti-German sentiment.
An opinion poll published this week revealed broad support among the Polish population for the system’s deployment in Poland.
Poland will also receive modern tanks, other combat vehicles and weapons from the USA for around 3.58 billion euros. The State Department in Washington has given the arms deal the go-ahead. According to this, Poland will acquire, among other things, 116 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition.
The tank purchases support U.S. foreign policy and security goals by enhancing the security of a NATO ally that is a driver of political stability and economic progress in Europe, the State Department said.