Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has reportedly said Berlin is ready to provide Warsaw with Patriot missiles
Germany has offered to strengthen Poland's air defenses following a deadly incident last Tuesday that saw a stray missile - widely believed to be Ukrainian - kill two civilians in the village of Przewodow. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht was quoted by the media as saying that Berlin is prepared to provide its fighter jets and Patriot air-defense missiles.
In an interview with Germany's Rheinische Post and General-Anzeiger newspapers published on Monday, Lambrecht said: "We have offered Poland to support [it] in securing [its] airspace - with our Eurofighters and Patriot air-defense systems." She explained that Berlin already has these weapons deployed in Slovakia, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government planning to extend its military presence there until the end of 2023, and "possibly even beyond that."
The German minister also called for air defenses to be beefed up in other NATO member states, particularly Slovakia and the Baltic states.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak posted a message, saying Warsaw "with satisfaction took up the German defense minister on her offer to deploy additional Patriot launchers." He added that Poland intended to deploy the air-defense systems on its border with Ukraine.
Last Wednesday, German Defense Ministry spokesman Christian Thiels first revealed Berlin's readiness to "offer Poland enhanced air policing with combat air patrols." He stopped short of giving any concrete numbers, adding only that the jets would not need to be relocated to Polish soil as they could fly the missions directly from German bases.
That initial offer came a day after a missile blast killed two civilians in the Polish village of Przewodow, which is situated just 6km from the Polish-Ukrainian border.
Ukrainian and Polish officials alike were quick to point the finger at Russia. However, Warsaw had to backtrack on its accusations after the initial investigation indicated that the missile had most probably been fired by a Ukrainian S-300 air-defense system to intercept an incoming Russian rocket.
On Friday, President Andrzej Duda described the blast as an "unfortunate accident," warning his compatriots that similar situations could occur down the road.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who initially insisted that the missile had not been fired by his forces, acknowledged on Thursday that he was not "100% sure" to whom the projectile belonged.
The Russian Defense Ministry characterized the allegations about Moscow's involvement as a "provocation" aimed at escalating tensions between NATO and Russia.
The military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg still blamed Moscow, explaining on Wednesday that the Kremlin bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its military campaign against Ukraine - a narrative echoed by officials in Washington.