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German Patriot air defence units intended for NATO territory, Berlin tells Warsaw

Berlin made it clear on Thursday that the Patriot air defence units it offered to Poland are intended for use on NATO territory, countering demands by Warsaw for the system to be sent to Ukraine.

November 25, 2022
25 November 2022

BERLIN, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Berlin made it clear on
Thursday that the Patriot air defence units it offered to Poland
are intended for use on NATO territory, countering demands by
Warsaw for the system to be sent to Ukraine.

“These Patriots are part of NATO’s integrated air defence,
meaning they are intended to be deployed on NATO territory,”
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said in Berlin.

“Any use outside NATO territory would require prior
discussions with NATO and the allies,” she added.

Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defence system to
help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and
killed two people in Poland last week.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Wednesday
he had asked Germany to send the Patriot fire units to Ukraine
instead.

“After further Russian missile attacks, I asked Germany to
have the Patriot batteries offered to Poland transferred to
Ukraine and deployed at its western border,” Blaszczak wrote on
Twitter.

On Monday, Poland had said it would propose deploying the
additional Patriot missile launchers near its border with
Ukraine.

Ground-based air defence systems such as Raytheon’s
Patriot are built to intercept incoming missiles.

But the systems are in short supply in NATO since, after the
Cold War, many NATO allies scaled down their number to reflect
the assessment that they would, from now on, only have to deal
with a limited missile threat coming from countries such as
Iran.

This perception changed drastically with Russia’s invasion
of Ukraine, which sent NATO allies scrambling to increase stocks
of ammunition and tackle air defence system shortfalls.

Germany had 36 Patriot units when it was NATO’s frontline
state during the Cold War and even then it relied on support
from NATO allies. Today, the German forces are down to 12
Patriot units, two of which are deployed to Slovakia.
(Reporting by Rachel More and Sabine Siebold, Editing by
William Maclean)

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