Germany offers Poland Patriot missiles to defend airspace
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Germany has offered Eurofighters and Patriot defense systems to Poland to help it defend its airspace, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told German newspapers in comments published Monday.
“We have to position ourselves in the alliance even better in terms of air defense,” and that that goes particularly for Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic countries, she told the Rheinische Post and General-Anzeiger newspapers.
Lambrecht said Germany is present with these air defense weapons in Slovakia already and wants to extend that through 2023 or even beyond.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he received Germany’s offer of additional Patriot missiles “with satisfaction” and will have them deployed close to the border with Ukraine.
He tweeted that during a phone conversation Monday with the German side, he will suggest the location for the Patriot missile reinforcement. Poland already has a deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles.
On Tuesday, two Poles were killed when a missile hit a grain depot in the village of Przewodow, just 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the border with Ukraine, which came under heavy Russian missile barrage that day.
Western officials say it appeared that a Ukrainian air defense missile went astray and landed in Poland. While acknowledging that Russia did not fire the missile, NATO, the United States and Poland say they believe the ultimate blame lies with Russia which invaded Ukraine and started the onslaught.
Germany’s offer of weapons for Poland’s defense testifies to the good relations and trust the neighboring nations have built up, having overcome their dramatic history that included the invasion by Nazi German troops and brutal occupation of Poland during World War II. German troops have been present on Polish soil in recent times as part of NATO exercises.
Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
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