Polen’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday supported the idea of stationing the Patriot air defense systems in western Ukraine, which the federal government had offered Poland on Sunday. Morawiecki said it was a good idea to increase the security of the Ukrainian-Polish border area.
“We are doing everything to guarantee maximum security in this part of Poland,” said Morawiecki. On Wednesday, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak tweeted that he had suggested Germany bring the offered Patriot batteries to Ukraine: “This allows Ukraine to be protected from further casualties and blackouts and increases security on our eastern border,” wrote Blaszczak.
“That the Germans really change their minds”
Blasczak wrote on Twitter on Monday that he had accepted the German offer with great satisfaction and proposed that the air defense systems be stationed in eastern Poland. However, between the two statements by the defense minister and deputy prime minister, the leader of the right-wing governing PiS party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said in an interview with the PAP news agency that he believed it would be best for Poland’s security if Germany handed the Patriots over directly to Ukraine. Germany should train Ukrainian crews on it. “Such a solution would show that the Germans are really changing their attitude and that it is not a specific act of propaganda character.”
This statement is an indirect rejection of the offer made by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) to Poland after the rocket hit last week in the village of Przewodów on the Polish side of the Polish-Ukrainian border. Lambrecht had also suggested that Bundeswehr Eurofighters could take part in monitoring Polish airspace. The Patriot systems should not be handed over to Poland, but stationed with the associated German teams in Poland. NATO has ruled out sending troops to Ukraine to prevent a direct military confrontation between the alliance and Russia.
Election campaign with anti-German campaign?
Commenting on the Polish proposal, Lambrecht said on Thursday: “These Patriots are part of NATO’s integrated air defense system, which means they are intended for use in NATO territory.” which will be discussed beforehand with NATO and the Allies.” The defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, Florian Hahn (CSU), criticized the process: “After the exchange of rings with Poland, Lambrecht’s next attempt at cooperation with our most important partner in the East failed. One increasingly wonders whether it is incompetence or intent.”
Hahn added that supporting eastern partners Slovakia and Poland with air defense forces on NATO territory is “useful and a deterrent against Russia.” Both in parliament and in the Bundeswehr it was pointed out that the foreign deployment of another of the three patriot groups in the Air Force posed a major challenge in terms of personnel and material. Therefore, according to Hahn, it is all the more important to finally get a viable air defense concept off the ground.
The Polish media suspected that Kaczynski wanted to prevent a visible German contribution to security because that would contradict his plan to contest next year’s election campaign with an anti-German campaign. Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk announced on Wednesday that Poland would send diplomatic notes to all members of NATO, the EU and the Council of Europe to reiterate demands on Germany for reparations for the Second World War occupation.