Ukrainian troops could quickly master Patriot systems, Poland says
System Patriot (Photo:www.flickr.com/Sivi Steys)
Ukrainians would be able to learn to operate Patriot missile defense systems in a short span of time, Poland's Deputy Defense Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz told Polish news agency PAP on Nov. 28.
"The Ukrainians will be able to learn the Patriots in a very short time; it’s is a matter of up to two months," said Skurkiewicz.
“The ball is now in Germany's court.”
He said Warsaw’s main priority was to strengthen NATO’s eastern border.
Germany offered to send its Patriot air defense units to Poland, after a missile fell in Polish territory near the border with Ukraine on Nov. 15 – during a massive Russian missile strike on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak asked Germany to send the Patriots to Ukraine, instead. Polish President Andrzej Duda and PM Mateusz Morawiecki supported with the idea, but the matter is up to Berlin to decide.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht demurred that Patriot units are meant to protect the NATO airspace.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg later said it’s a decision individual alliance members can make on their own.
On Nov. 25, Blaszczak said it would be in Poland’s interest to have Patriot batteries in Ukraine.
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