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No Patriots for Ukraine – Poland

Washington can find an air defense system elsewhere to hand over to Kiev, the Polish deputy defense minister has said

FILE PHOTO: -made Patriot air defense systems ©  Global Look Press / Soeren Stache

US-made Patriot air defense systems stationed in are not going anywhere, the European nation’s deputy defense minister Cezary Tomczyk said on Thursday. The official was commenting on a New York Times article suggesting Washington could take one and hand it over to .

“Poland did not agree to transfer the Polish battery,” Tomczyk said on X (formerly Twitter). “Polish Patriots defend the Polish sky and this will not change.”

The NYT piece published on Tuesday said, citing some “senior administration and military officials,” that President Joe Biden had approved a deployment of another Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. The decision was reportedly taken last week. The system – the second one to be supposedly donated by the US to Kiev – was to come from Poland, the media outlet claimed, adding that Washington was going to take one used to protect an American rotational force stationed in the Central European nation.

Read more NATO country seeks parts to assemble Patriot missile system for Ukraine

Speaking about America’s potential need to replace the system it was going to hand over to Kiev, Tomczyk said that Washington could find another Patriot somewhere else and not rely on the Polish arsenal. US officials have not commented on the NYT report, which claimed that a new air defense system could arrive on Ukrainian soil in the coming days.

According to Polish media, the system the US was supposedly planning to give Kiev was already protecting a logistics hub in the Polish city of Rzeszow, which is used by Ukraine’s Western backers to supply Kiev with military aid.

Earlier, the head of the Polish National Security Bureau, Jacek Siewiera, also weighed in on the issue. American Patriot systems stationed in Poland should “definitely” not go to Ukraine, he told Radio Zet. The official pointed to his nation’s “key importance” both for Ukraine’s military aid supplies and NATO defense.

Read more NATO’s Eastern European air defenses at 5% of required capacity – FT

Siewiera also said he requested a meeting with the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan over the issue.

Each Patriot battery consists of a power plant, radar and control stations, truck-mounted missile launchers, and support vehicles, and costs around $1 billion. Kiev has long sought to acquire more air defense systems from its Western backers in order to achieve parity with Russia.

In May, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his military needed two Patriot batteries to protect the Kharkov Region alone, where Russian forces have been advancing in the past month.

Blinken, in turn, said during his May visit to Kiev that Washington was “intensely focused” on finding and delivering Patriots and other air defense systems to Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly said that foreign weapons deliveries would only prolong the conflict between Kiev and Moscow without changing its outcome. In late March, then-Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that at least five Patriot missile launchers operated by Ukraine had been destroyed since the start of the year.

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