WARSAW, Poland — Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has announced that Poland is entering talks with Germany regarding the deployment of Patriot launchers to Polish territory after Berlin ruled out sending the weapons to Ukraine.
At the same time, Błaszczak said in a tweet that, following discussions with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence, he “received with disappointment the decision to reject the support of [Ukraine]. Deploying Patriots in western [Ukraine] would increase the safety of Poles and Ukrainians.”
The proposal was put forward by Błaszczak’s German counterpart, Christine Lambrecht, who offered to send the country’s Patriots and Eurofighter Typhoon jets to help safeguard Polish airspace.
Poland initially accepted Germany’s gesture for Patriot launchers following a recent fatal missile strike on Polish soil local authorities believe was caused by the Ukrainian air defense trying to intercept Russia’s missile. However, Warsaw later changed its mind and suggested that Berlin deliver the systems to Ukraine to ramp up that country’s defenses.
Germany has backed Ukraine with weapons and equipment, but, like all other NATO allies, it has also kept its military away from direct involvement in the war. With this in mind, Berlin rejected Warsaw’s suggestion, pushing the Polish government to revisit, and now seemingly accept, its initial Patriot offer.
The latest series of policy twists and turns has exposed differences within the country’s ruling Law and Justice party. Among others, Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was re-elected in 2020 with the party’s support, stated that, if Germany “does not agree to deliver the batteries to Ukraine, then we must accept this defense here” in Poland.
However, some local observers say it is likely Warsaw will accept Berlin’s proposal under the pressure of public opinion here. A recent poll for Polish daily Rzeczpospolita showed that 40.2 percent of respondents want the government to accept the German offer, 28.6 percent of the polled believe NATO member states should decide together where to deploy the launchers, and only 12.5 percent say the Patriots should be sent to Ukraine.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.