German Patriot missile batteries to remain in Poland until end of year

Germany has accepted a request from the Polish government to keep its Patriot missile defence batteries in Poland until the end of this year while Warsaw readies its own Patriot systems ordered from the United States

Berlin first offered to transfer some of its Patriot systems last year, after a Ukrainian air defence missile accidentally fell in Poland, killing two people. The systems arrived in January, along with 300 German military personnel, and were initially due to remain until the end of June.

That period was extended, and Warsaw in July requested that the batteries remain until “at least until the end of this year”. On Tuesday this week, the German government confirmed its willingness to keep the Patriots in Poland until the end of 2023.

Poland has requested that German Patriot missile systems stationed on its territory remain in place until “at least until the end of this year”.

The two countries are also seeking to finalise a deal on establishing a repair hub in Poland for Leopard tanks

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 4, 2023

Speaking today to Polskie Radio, Poland’s defence minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, confirmed that “we will take advantage of Germany’s proposal to extend until the end of the year”.

“By then, we will be ready to replace them with Polish Patriots,” he added. Poland first ordered Patriot systems from the US in 2018 and the first units were delivered last year. They are expected to be operational by 2024, reports news service WNP.

In June this year, the US State Department approved a $15 billion sale to Poland of a further six Patriot batteries, which include 48 system launchers and more than 600 missiles.

The US government has approved the potential sale to Poland of Patriot missile systems worth up to $15 billion

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) June 28, 2023

Poland has argued that the Patriots are needed on its territory to help protect deliveries of equipment to Ukraine. Concerns have been further increased by Russia’s transfer of nuclear weapons to Belarus and the arrival of Wagner forces there.

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Main image credit: MON (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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