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German Patriot crews to arrive in Poland next week: officials

12.01.2023 12:00
German soldiers who will operate the Patriot air defence systems promised to Warsaw by Berlin are set to arrive in Poland next week, according to military officials.
German soldiers are set to arrive in Poland next week to help operate Patriot air defence systems promised to Warsaw by Berlin, according to reports on Thursday.
German soldiers are set to arrive in Poland next week to help operate Patriot air defence systems promised to Warsaw by Berlin, according to reports on Thursday.PAP/DPA/Thomas Frey

Some 400 Bundeswehr troops are expected to arrive in Poland, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported on Thursday. 

Polish President Andrzej Duda authorised their stay in the country at the end of last month, officials told reporters.

Together with the Patriot systems, the German crews will be stationed in Poland's eastern Lubelskie province, officials said. 

According to Polish defence ministry officials and presidential aides, German working groups are already in Poland, making final preparations for the arrival of the Patriot crews after the weekend, the IAR news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Polish Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz told reporters on Thursday that the Patriot launchers to be transferred by Germany “must be integrated” into the Polish command system. 

German Patriots for Poland

Germany’s Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said in late November that Berlin had offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defence system to help it to secure its airspace after a stray missile struck the village of Przewodów in southeastern Poland earlier that month, killing two people, according to reports.    

Russia 'bears ultimate responsibility'

The Polish president said in November that the missile strike, which killed two people in a village in the southeast of his country, was "a tragic accident" that was caused by Russia's war in neighbouring Ukraine.

Two Polish citizens died when "a Russia-made missile" caused an explosion outside the southeastern Polish village of Przewodów, about 6 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, at around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, according to a statement by the Polish foreign ministry.

The explosion at a grain facility in Przewodów came as Russia fired dozens of missiles against cities across Ukraine in a new wave of attacks targeting critical energy infrastructure, according to officials.

“Nobody wanted to hurt anyone in Poland,” President Duda said on November 17, during a visit to the site of the blast.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said a day earlier that the deadly explosion in Poland near its border with Ukraine was the result of a Ukrainian air defence missile that landed in Poland, but added that Russia "bears ultimate responsibility" for the incident.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told parliament in Warsaw on November 16 that it could not be ruled out that the missile incident was the result of a "provocation" by Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on November 16 that the missile was probably a stray fired by Ukraine's air defences and not a Russian strike, but added that Russia "bears ultimate responsibility" for the incident as it "continues its illegal war" against Ukraine.

Poland in March 2019 signed what officials described as a historic deal to buy Patriot air defence systems from the United States for USD 4.75 billion.

The Polish president and defence minister in October attended an event at a training ground in the northern city of Toruń to test the first battery of the country’s newly delivered Patriot air defence systems, news outlets reported at the time.

Thursday is day 323 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, wnp.pl