Nato chief says Patriots needed in both Poland and Ukraine

The decision of where to deploy the Patriot batteries would be one to be taken at a national level, Stoltenberg explained. Stephanie Lecocq/PAP/EPA

Air-defence systems such as the US-made Patriot are needed both in Poland and in Ukraine, Nato secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday in an interview for US news channel CNN.

"We need both," Stoltenberg said when asked if Patriot batteries offered to Poland by Germany should be deployed in Poland or Ukraine. "We need both increased air defence of our Nato allies in the east, in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania. But also we need more air defence in Ukraine, that's obvious."

Stoltenberg also said Nato countries should "further step up" in their support for Ukraine.

The Nato chief went on to say that the possible deployment in Ukraine of the German Patriot batteries would be a national gesture rather than one by the North Atlantic Alliance.

The decision of where to deploy the Patriot batteries would be one to be taken at a national level, Stoltenberg explained.

"In the end it will be a national decision on the specific capabilities," he said. "But I continue to call on our allies to step up and provide even more air defences, also for Ukraine."

Germany's defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, had earlier said the Patriots could only be used outside Nato territory following talks between Nato and its allies.