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Germany preparing to deploy Patriot batteries to Poland

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Poland/Ukraine – Following the 15 November incident in which two people were killed on Polish territory by a wandering missile launched by Ukraine’s air defence during a Russian missile attack, the German government offered to provide Patriot air defence systems to Poland. While President Duda immediately welcomed “an important gesture from an ally”, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak proposed for his part that “the Patriot batteries offered to Poland be transferred to Ukraine” instead, saying this would both enhance Ukraine’s defence capabilities and help protect Poland from wandering missiles. Germany, however, rejected the proposal.

In the end, as Mariusz Błaszczak announced on 6 December, while expressing Poland’s regrets at the German refusal, the Polish government decided to accept the offer of German Patriot batteries to be deployed on Polish soil, where they will be placed under the command of the Polish armed forces.

On 13 December, an evaluation unit from the German army visited Poland to inspect appropriate positions for the upcoming deployment of three of these air defence systems. Two such batteries are already stationed near Sliač in central Slovakia, south of Poland.

This does not mean, however, that Ukraine will not have the Patriot system. With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expected in Washington on 21 December to meet with Joe Biden and speak to Congress, a new 1.8 billion dollar military aid package was announced by the Biden administration that is to include, for the first time, precision-guided bombs for Ukrainian aircraft and… a Patriot air defence battery.