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10 Dec, 2022 20:06

Germany explains why it denies Patriots to Ukraine

Berlin has said it cannot freely decide the fate of the US-made systems as they are part of NATO's collective defense
Germany explains why it denies Patriots to Ukraine

Berlin has explained why it turned down Warsaw’s proposal to deliver US-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine instead of sending them to Poland.

Germany lacks the authority to go it alone, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official told US state-funded Voice of America on Saturday.

The Patriot missiles are part of NATO’s "collective defense system," Tobias Lindner, a parliamentary secretary of state for the German Foreign Ministry, told the media outlet. The official explained that Berlin does not have Patriot missiles that it can simply hand over to a third party, such as Ukraine, and that Germany instead suggested strengthening Poland's security by sending air defense systems to NATO's eastern border.

The idea of sending the US-made missile systems directly to western Ukraine was previously floated by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak in late November. The move would both protect Ukraine from "blackouts" resulting from Russian strikes against its infrastructure and would "increase security at our eastern border," the minister argued at the time.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht rejected the idea, arguing that the Patriots are also part of NATO's defense network. That fact meant "they are intended to be deployed on NATO territory," she said in late November. Any use of the missiles outside of the bloc would require discussions at NATO level, she added.

Blaszczak said earlier this week that he was "disappointed" by Germany’s decision to reject his proposal, adding that Poland would now go along with the original plan and work on integrating the Patriots into its command system.

Berlin offered to enhance Poland's defenses after a missile fell in the eastern part of the country in November, killing two people. Although Ukrainian officials and some Western media were quick to blame the incident on Russia, Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, later said the projectile was likely launched by Ukraine’s air defense forces and had veered off course.