Germany is in talks with allies over Polish insistence on sending Patriots to Ukraine

  • NATO says the decision on whether to deploy Patriots depends on a specific country
  • Poland asked to send German launchers to Western Ukraine

BERLIN/WARSAW, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Germany said on Friday it was discussing with allies Poland’s request to send German Patriot air defense units to Ukraine after the NATO chief suggested the military alliance would not oppose such a move .

“We are talking to our allies about how to deal with Poland’s suggestion,” a German government spokesman told reporters in Berlin.

Berlin offered the Patriot system to Warsaw to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send the fire units to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said such deployments should be decisions for individual countries, taking into account rules around end users.

“The specific decisions on specific systems are national decisions,” he told reporters in Brussels.

“Sometimes there are end-user agreements and other things, so they have to consult other allies. But in the end, it (the decision) has to be made by the national governments,” he added.

Stoltenberg’s comments came after German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Thursday that sharing Germany’s Patriot units outside NATO territory would require preliminary talks with NATO and allies.

Patriots are produced by the American company Raytheon (RTX.N).

On Friday, the Polish president said it was Germany’s decision where its Patriot air defense units are stationed, adding that it would be better for Poland’s security if they were on Ukrainian territory near the border.

“From a military point of view, it would be best if they were in Ukraine to protect Polish territory as well, then they would most effectively protect both Ukraine and Poland,” Andrzej Duda told a news conference in Kaunas, Lithuania. “But the decision lies with the German side.”

Duda later said Germany could send the Patriot units to Ukraine without NATO troops to run them, something he says Kiev has been asking for for some time.

“But if there is no permission for this, let them be here (in Poland) and protect us,” Duda wrote on Twitter.

On the sidelines of NATO exercises in northeastern Poland, Blaszczak took a swing at Berlin by saying he was surprised by the idea that the German patriots might have progressed too far to be transferred to Ukraine.

“These are the old patriots, the Polish version is the latest… the claim that the old German patriots are very advanced is not true,” he said.

Report by Sabine Siebold, Bart Meijer and Miranda Murray; Additional reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw; adaptation by Frank Jack Daniel, Philippa Fletcher, William Maclean

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