Mariusz Błaszczak made the announcement at a news conference in the western Polish city of Poznań on Monday, state news agency PAP reported.
Speaking to the media during a visit to a local engineering plant, Błaszczak was asked when the German-supplied Patriot batteries would start to operate in Poland.
He replied: “We are not in any hurry.”
He added: “The process will be completed when everything is ready. We are working intensively to make it happen.”
The German army was due to start the transfer of two Patriot batteries to Poland on Monday, the PAP news agency reported, citing German media.
Designed to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank, the batteries will be stationed in Poland’s eastern Lubelskie province, some 60 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.
German soldiers tasked with installing the batteries in Poland have already been deployed near the eastern town of Zamość, IAR reported.
In all, Berlin has promised to supply Poland with three batteries of the Patriot air defence system, officials said.
Last week, Błaszczak told Polish Radio that the Patriot batteries “will be integrated into the Polish command system.”
He added: “It's the Polish commander who will be deciding when to use them.”
Błaszczak, who is also Poland’s defence minister, said on Monday that “the most important thing is to ensure security in Ukraine.”
He told reporters that “thanks to pressure from Poland, both Germany and the United States have committed to sending the Patriot system to Ukraine” to help Kyiv fend off the Russian invasion.
“We are deeply convinced that the same will be the case with Leopard tanks,” Błaszczak said.
Patriots for Poland and Ukraine
After a stray Ukrainian missile struck a village in southeastern Poland in November, killing two people, Germany offered to provide a Patriot air defence system to Poland, the IAR news agency reported.
Poland initially called for the weapons to be sent to Ukraine instead before it eventually accepted Berlin’s offer.
Germany has since also offered to supply a Patriot system to Ukraine, in a joint announcement with the United States.
Monday is day 334 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.pl