German Patriot missiles on the way to Poland

Germany is also planning to send one Patriot battery to Ukraine. Martin Divisek/PAP/EPA

The German armed forces have begun relocating the first two batteries of the US-made Patriot air-defence system to Poland, the German NDR news website has reported.

The military transport carrying the two batteries set off from Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania on Monday morning.

"Their mission is to defend the Nato partner's airspace within 30 kilometres from its border with Ukraine," NDR said of the batteries.

The German Patriots have to cover a distance of 1,100 kilometres before reaching their destination near the eastern Polish city of Zamość.

According to NDR, the system comprises more than 10 elements, including radars, guiding units and launchers, which can hold between four and sixteen missiles each.

A preparatory group visited Poland a week ago to organise accommodation and supplies for several hundred Budeswehr soldiers and prepare the ground for the air-defence system.

"The units have been integrated with Nato air defence on its eastern flank," NDR also said.

Germany offered to strengthen Poland's air defence capabilities after a stray missile, likely fired by Ukraine's defence forces, exploded near a Polish village in November, killing two men.

Germany is also planning to send one Patriot battery to Ukraine.