epa000242079 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system being depolyed in both Poland and Ukraine . EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU


Germany and Poland haggle over future of Patriot missiles


German and Polish defence ministers yesterday discussed the future of a Patriot missile launcher battery that Germany stationed in Poland in January.

Warsaw wanted the battery, which Berlin initially sent for six months, to remain on its soil through at least the end of 2023.

Poland now faced greater threats requiring expanded air defences, argued Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak in a joint press conference.

Russian nuclear weapons and Wagner Group fighters had moved to Belarus in June. 

Russia also “had run a spy ring in Poland” to gather intelligence about arms supplies to Ukraine, before Polish security services broke it up in March.

Meanwhile all western deliveries of equipment were “going through Poland”, Blaszczak observed.

Berlin originally stationed the Patriot battery in Poland after a stray rocket, later identified as Ukrainian, landed in the country’s east in November, killing two civilians.

The Patriot air defence system can hit enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles up to 100 km away, at an altitude up to 30 km.

German defence minister Boris Pistorius did not indicate when Berlin might decide about the Patriot battery.

Germany, though, sought to use the air defence system to bring down Poland’s price tag to host a maintenance centre for its Leopard 2 tanks deployed in Ukraine.

Talks about the maintenance hub “should be concluded within 10 days,” urged Pistorius. The talks started in April.

Berlin was initially reluctant to provide the German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but succumbed to pressure from Washington and Warsaw.