Germany Rejects Polish Call to Send Patriot Missiles to Ukraine

(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s defense minister dismissed a surprise request from Poland to station surface-to-air Patriot missiles in western Ukraine, saying such a deployment would have to be agreed by NATO.

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The request, disclosed late on Wednesday in a post on Twitter by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, came just days after the countries struck an air-defense deal that would see German Patriot missiles and fighter jets deployed to Poland. It followed a strike that raised fears of a significant escalation between NATO allies and Russia.

“These are Patriot systems that are part of integrated NATO air-defense planning. That’s why it was possible to make this offer to Poland,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters in Berlin Thursday after talks with her Estonian counterpart. “Any proposal that deviates from that must now be discussed with NATO and with our allies.”

Germany made the offer to station surface-to-air Patriots in Poland less than a week after a missile strike killed two people in a village close to the border with Ukraine, raising fears of a significant escalation between NATO and Russia.

Blaszczak said he asked Germany to move the weapons even further east after a fresh series of strikes by Russia, adding that “they should protect Ukraine from further casualties and blackouts and will increase security at our eastern border.”

Poland’s ruling party has pilloried the government in Berlin for what it calls a slow response to Russian aggression. The deal this week offered a chance to turn the page on fraught relations between the two countries. Warsaw this year launched a campaign to demand Germany pay $1.3 trillion in compensation for damages from World War II.

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