When asked about Polish requests for Germany to provide Patriot units to Kyiv, NATO’s chief said on Friday that the choice to send Patriot air defence units to Ukraine is up to the individual countries.
After a stray missile landed and killed two people in Poland last week, Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to assist defend its airspace, but Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak then requested Germany to transfer the fire units to Ukraine in its place.
German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht rebuffed this demand on Thursday.
She claimed that Germany’s Patriot units were only meant to be used on NATO soil and that doing so would require prior consultation with the alliance and its partners.
However, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, indicated a national choice.
He told reporters in Brussels that “the specific decisions on specific systems are national decisions.”
“Sometimes there are end users agreements and other things so they need to consult with other allies. But at the end of the day, it (the decision) has to be taken by the national governments,” he added.
Raytheon, a US-based firm, manufactures Patriot.
When asked if NATO ran the risk of getting involved in the conflict by sending Patriot units to Ukraine, Stoltenberg responded that the allies had already given Kyiv cutting-edge weapons without bringing NATO forces along.
“The way this has been done is that when there is a need for specialists to operate these systems, be it air defence systems or other advanced artillery systems, the Ukrainians have received training in a NATO country,” he said.
(with inputs from agencies)