A special task force from Germany is to begin immediately with preparations in Poland to find a location for the Patriot air defense system.
According to the German defense ministry, the Polish and German defense ministers, Mariusz Błaszczak and Christine Lambrecht, have agreed to station the system in Poland.
Both the ministries will now decide about technical issues such as the exact location of the system in Poland and the needed infrastructure and integration with communication and command systems. The exact timetable for the transfer of the equipment is not yet known.
The German defense minister had offered the Patriots to Poland following the tragic incident in Przewodów in eastern Poland, when a Ukrainian air defense rocket strayed onto Polish territory killing two civilians. The offer was for the Patriot system as well as Eurofighter jets to boost Poland’s air defense capacity.
Poland’s first reaction to the offer was positive. However, both the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argued that it would be preferable if the Patriots were located in western Ukraine. This was not acceptable to Berlin who argued that the Patriot system was designated for defense of NATO territory. This was partly contradicted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said that it was up to individual NATO member states what support they offer Ukraine.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak took to Twitter on Tuesday night to announce the agreement reached with Germany.
Błaszczak expressed “disappointment” that Poland’s idea of placing the system in Ukraine was not accepted, a move he believes would have increased the security of both Poland and Ukraine, but announced: “We will proceed to work on arrangements to place the launchers in Poland, implementing them into our command system.”