The German army has confirmed the arrival of the Patriot batteries in Poland, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
“The Patriot air defence systems have arrived in Poland to strengthen the country’s air defences and help protect the eastern flank of NATO,” the Bundeswehr said in a statement on Wednesday, as quoted by PAP.
The Bundeswehr added that by sending Patriot batteries to Poland, Germany will “increase its solidarity with NATO allies from Eastern Europe.”
German troops will “help protect Polish airspace and strengthen NATO’s integrated air defence on the eastern flank,” according to the statement, as quoted by the PAP news agency.
The German Bundeswehr also announced that the Patriot unit would number some 350 soldiers and could be increased to 650 servicemen.
“The duration of the mission will be established in close coordination with our allied partner Poland,” officials said.
German Patriot system in Poland
On Thursday, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told public broadcaster Polish Radio that the German-provided Patriot batteries “will strengthen the defence of the Polish skies,” adding that the system will be overseen by the Operational Commander of the Polish armed forces.
Designed to bolster NATO’s eastern flank, the German-supplied Patriot batteries will be stationed in Poland’s eastern Lubelskie province, some 60 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, according to 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 pledged to supply Poland with three batteries of the Patriot air defence system, officials said.
Patriots for Poland and Ukraine
After a stray Ukrainian air-defence 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.
Thursday is day 337 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Sources: IAR, PAP, niezalezna.pl