Poland accepts German offer to send Patriot air defence systems: deputy PM

A Polish deputy prime minister announced on Monday that Warsaw had accepted an offer from Berlin to send Patriot air defence systems to Poland after a stray missile incident near the Ukrainian border last week.

Mariusz Błaszczak

Mariusz BłaszczakJedynka/Wojciech Kusiński

„With satisfaction, I accepted the proposal of the German Minister of Defense to deploy additional Patriot missile launchers in our country,” Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said in a tweet.

„During today’s telephone talks with the German side, I will suggest that the system should be located at the border with Ukraine,” Błaszczak added, as cited by the Polish defence ministry.

Berlin has offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defence system to help it to secure its air space after a stray missile struck a village in southeastern Poland last week, killing two people, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told a newspaper on Sunday, according to reports.

The German government had already said it would offer Poland further help in air policing with German Eurofighters after the incident, which initially raised fears that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spill across the border, the Reuters news agency reported.

„We have offered Poland support in securing airspace – with our Eurofighters and with Patriot air defence systems,” Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post newspaper on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.

Christine LambrechtChristine Lambrecht. Photo: Michael Kappeler/PAP/DPA

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said last Thursday that the missile strike, which killed two people in a village in the southeast of his country two days earlier, 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,” Duda said on Thursday during a visit to the site of the blast.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said last week that the deadly explosion in Poland near its border with Ukraine was the result of a Ukrainian air defense 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 last Wednesday 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 last week 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 last month 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.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, dorzeczy.pl

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