Anti-aircraft defense for Ukraine: Stoltenberg considers Patriot levy possible

Status: 11/25/2022 5:46 p.m

Where to place the German Patriot anti-aircraft system? Now NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has joined the discussion. He thinks the operation in Ukraine is possible – and thus contradicts the German government.

For NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German air defense systems in Ukraine are not taboo. He made that clear during a press conference in Brussels. He welcomes the fact that Berlin wants to deliver Patriot systems to Warsaw. This is a contribution to protecting Poland against possible Russian missile attacks.

Whether these should instead go directly to Ukraine, as desired by Poland, is a matter for the individual governments. Stoltenberg thus invalidated the arguments of Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who had referred to possible reservations by NATO.

Stoltenberg: Ukraine’s defeat is dangerous

NATO countries have already delivered air defense systems to Ukraine, said the Secretary General, naming the German Iris-T SLM system, among other things. The Patriot system, which originated in the USA, is used to defend against aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. If specialists are needed to operate these systems, Ukrainians could be trained in a NATO country, Stoltenberg suggested.

As early as September, the Secretary General had shown himself open to significantly greater support for Ukraine with Western weapon systems.

When asked whether, in case of doubt, allies should fulfill the alliance’s quotas rather than supply Ukraine with more equipment, he made it clear that he considered a defeat in Kiev to be more dangerous than planned weapons caches in NATO countries. “By making sure that Russia does not win in Ukraine, we are also increasing our own security and strengthening the alliance,” Stoltenberg said at the time.

Poland: Most effective stationing in Ukraine

Germany originally offered the Patriot systems to Poland to secure its airspace after rockets hit the border area with Ukraine. However, Warsaw then suggested moving the batteries directly to Ukraine to support the country in the war against Russia.

It would be better for Poland’s security if they were on Ukrainian territory near the border, said Polish President Andrzej Duda. “Then they would protect both Ukraine and Poland most effectively.” However, the final decision on stationing lies with the country that has this system, i.e. with the German side, according to Duda.

Discussion with allies

The German government has so far reacted cautiously to the proposal from Warsaw. Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht called for a discussion at NATO level. Their argument: the Patriot systems are part of the alliance’s integrated air defense system and cannot be easily relocated.

Deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann commented on the debate: “It was important for the federal government to make an offer to NATO ally Poland and to support it with security. Of course, we took note of Poland’s reaction to this proposal.”

The government has also noticed that the proposal has been well received by the public in Poland. “And that made us happy.” Discussions are being held with the allies on how to deal with further suggestions by Poland.

Patriot systems: Stoltenberg welcomes German offer to Poland

Helga Schmidt, WDR Brussels, 25.11.2022 2:43 p.m

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