BERLIN, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Germany has offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defense system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed in Poland last week, the city said on Sunday. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to a newspaper.
The German government had already said it would offer its neighbor additional air policing assistance with German Eurofighters after the incident, sparking initial fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over the border.
“We offered Poland to support securing the airspace – with our Eurofighters and with Patriot air defense systems,” Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post and General Anzeiger.
The missile that hit Poland last week, killing two people, appears to have been fired by Ukrainian air defenses rather than a Russian strike, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
Ground-based air defense systems such as Raytheon’s Patriot (RTX.N) are designed to intercept incoming missiles.
NATO has moved to bolster air defenses in Eastern Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. More than a dozen NATO allies led by Germany in October launched an initiative to jointly acquire air defense systems for multiple threat layers, including Patriot.
Germany had 36 Patriot units when it was NATO’s frontline state during the Cold War. German forces currently have 12 Patriot units, two of which are deployed in Slovakia.
Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Madeline Chambers. Editing by Jane Merriman
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