Germany signals it may withdraw Patriot missiles from Poland even as war rages nearby

German Patriot surface-to-air missile battery temporarily placed on the eastern Polish border. (Source: Twitter Bundeswehr im Einsatz)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

A few days ago, the spokesperson of the German Ministry of Defense announced its plan to withdraw Patriot missile batteries from Poland and Slovakia “to optimize limited military resources.” A ministry spokesman quoted by the Funke media group stated that the deployment of Patriot units in Poland will end in June and in Slovakia by year’s end.

This decision surprised local residents near the city of Zamość in eastern Poland, where the missile are currently located, given Russia’s ongoing conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

After the tragic event in Przewodów, where two people died when Ukrainian missiles accidentally flew into Polish territory, German soldiers with modern anti-aircraft and anti-missile Patriot launchers were deployed to reinforce Poland’s security system. The batteries can destroy incoming rockets and missiles within a radius of over 70 kilometers, protecting southeastern Poland’s skies from missile threats from the eastern border.

German troops stationed in the Zamość region include four squadrons, medical staff, and IT specialists. The Bundeswehr equipment, such as multifunctional radar devices, guided missile launchers, and a special communication system, are “plugged into” Poland’s command system.

The Bundeswehr sent multifunctional radar devices, guided missile launchers, and a special communications system to the region with over 300 German soldiers stationed in the area.

However, there are signals that the Bundeswehr equipment may be withdrawn, perhaps due to the presence of U.S. Patriot launchers around the nearby Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport. Germany reportedly has 12 Patriot launchers in its inventory, including three in Poland and two in Slovakia.

The German Defense Ministry explained on April 21 that the decision regarding the Patriot system in Poland and Slovakia would be discussed at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. It also said that the previous statement by the spokesperson of the ministry is outdated because it referred to “initial” rather than current plans.

Local government officials have negatively assessed the withdrawal of German Patriots, as the war in Ukraine continues and Polish residents living near the border with Ukraine feel safer with the German Patriots system.

“We have heard about this situation. However, we have not received any official signals,” says Zamość’s mayor, Stanisław Grześko, adding that the decision about the use of these systems will be made by the German Ministry of Defense and NATO chiefs.

Deputy Mayor of Tomaszów Lubelski Jarosław Korzeń did not exclude the possibility that a stray missile could violate Polish airspace in the future. According to him, the withdrawal of German Patriot systems will negatively affect Poland’s defense.

“However, I am convinced that the Polish Army and the government will handle all of this — even in such a situation,” said Korzeń.

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