Germany to start relocating Patriot systems to Poland on Monday
The Bundeswehr, the Germany army, will start the process of deploying the first two of three promised Patriot air-defence batteries to Poland on Monday, the dpa news agency reported on Friday.
Bundeswehr officials said on Friday their aim was to help protect Polish airspace and reinforce the eastern Nato flank.
Germany offered the systems to Poland after a stray missile, believed to be Ukrainian, struck eastern Poland in November, killing two.
The relocation process will see the US-made Patriot batteries deployed near Zamość in southeastern Poland.
"From there it is about 60km to the Ukrainian border and 110km to Lviv," the dpa reported, adding that "Bundeswehr soldiers have been present on site in Poland since January 16 to ensure the assembly of the weapons systems' components together with Polish allies."
When Germany made the offer of Patriots, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak proposed that they be sent to Ukraine instead. As a result, three batteries will be sited in Poland and one in Ukraine.