Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Tuesday said the EU member would accept Patriot missiles from Germany after earlier calling on Berlin to send them to Ukraine instead.
“After talking to the German defence minister, it is with disappointment that I have accepted the decision to refuse support for Ukraine,” Blaszczak said on Twitter.
“Deploying the Patriots in western Ukraine would have increased Polish and Ukrainian security. We thus proceed to working arrangements regarding the placement of the launcher in Poland.”
A spokesman for the German defence ministry said the two countries had “a good discussion on Germany’s offer to deploy the German Patriot systems to Poland and they agreed on the principle.”
“Details like possible deployment locations and the necessary infrastructure are now being discussed at the technical level and a reconnaissance team is due to be sent immediately to Poland,” he told AFP.
Germany had offered to deploy the advanced US-made Patriot system to Poland after a deadly blast believed to be from a stray Ukrainian air defense missile hit a Polish village last month.
But Polish authorities told Berlin to ship the system to Ukraine instead, to help Kyiv defend itself against the barrages of Russian missiles hitting the country.
Germany responded at the time that it would have to discuss with NATO any proposals to send the Patriot system to Ukraine as it was part of the alliance’s integrated defences.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg later said it was up to Germany to decide if it wanted to supply Patriot missile defenses to Ukraine.
NATO allies have already funnelled billions of dollars’ worth of arms to Ukraine to help it fight back against the Russian invasion, including modern air defense systems.
Germany has provided Kyiv with the medium-range Iris-T system as part of an effort by Western nations to bolster Ukraine’s protection against Russian strikes.
But the United States and other NATO allies have steered clear of sending the long-range Patriot system to Ukraine.
The American system is a key part of the alliance’s air defenses for its eastern flank.
Washington has already deployed Patriot missiles to Poland and Berlin has deployed them to Slovakia.