Send Patriot missiles to Ukraine? That's up to Germany, says Nato

Berlin has offered the weapons to Poland - which wants them to be given to Ukraine instead

German soldiers at Nato Patriot launching station in Slovakia. EPA
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A decision on whether Germany should send Patriot missile defences to Ukraine should be made in Berlin, Nato has said.

Germany has offered to send the high-tech system to Poland, where it can prevent stray Russian missiles strikes from across the Ukraine border.

But Poland has so far not accepted the German offer and suggested sending the Patriot system, which can defend against incoming tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, and aircraft, to Ukraine.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said it was up to Germany to decide if it wants to supply Patriot missile defences to Ukraine.

“I welcome the German offer to strengthen the air defences of Poland by offering to deploy Patriot batteries to Poland after the tragic incident in Poland last week, where two people lost their lives,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

“Sometimes there are end users' agreements and other things, so they need to consult with other allies, but at the end of the day, it has to be taken by the national governments.”

Poland has told Berlin to ship the system to Ukraine instead to help Kyiv defend itself.

“We have stepped out our presence with an increase in the number of battle groups, increasing the number of troops on the ground, but also backed by significant air and naval capabilities.

“We have stepped out our presence with an increase in the number of battle groups, increasing the number of troops on the ground, but also backed by significant air and naval capabilities.

“And this includes also significant air defence systems with fighter aircraft, ground based air defence systems like compatriots and, of course, also naval air defence systems.”

On Friday a German government spokeswoman said Berlin had taken note of Warsaw's position. She added: “We are currently discussing with our allies how to deal with Poland's … suggestion.”

Germany's defence minister said on Thursday that Berlin would have to discuss with Nato any proposals to send the Patriot system to Ukraine as it was part of the alliance's integrated defences.

Nato allies have sent billions of dollars' worth of arms to Ukraine to help it fight back against the Russian invasion, including modern air defence systems.

Germany has provided Kyiv with the medium-range Iris-T system as part of an effort by western nations to bolster Ukraine's protection against Russian strikes.

Mr Stoltenberg said he would urge Nato foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest next week to step up deliveries to Ukraine.

“The best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine,” he said.

“So Nato will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down.”

The US and other Nato allies have so far not sent the long-range Patriot system to Ukraine. The system is a key part of the alliance's air defences for its eastern flank.

Washington has already sent Patriot missiles to Poland and Berlin has deployed them in Slovakia.

Updated: November 25, 2022, 2:50 PM
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