Deployment of German Patriots in Ukraine is political issue: former NATO official

The German offer to provide Poland with its Patriot anti-air defence system has triggered a back-and-forth between Berlin and Warsaw with the latter suggesting that the equipment should be given to Ukraine – a move that, as TVP World’s guest Robert Pszczel, the former chief of the NATO information office in Moscow, stressed, could entail political problems.

After the German government offered Poland the redeployment of its Patriot missile defence batteries, Polish officials responded that the Patriots would better serve Ukraine. Berline argues, however, that it cannot send its patriot batteries to Ukraine as the war-torn country is not a member of NATO, even after the fact that Secretary-General Stoltenberg said that such a decision lies within the power of individual countries.

“Patriots are considered one of the best systems and that’s why many countries have them and a lot of countries want to acquire them. Some, like Poland, have already started the [acquisition] process…,” Mr Pszczel said.

TVP World’s guest went on to highlight “very simple” issues related to the Patriots, namely, that “Ukraine needs as many as possible effective air defence and missile systems to protect its skies. We know what’s happening, how many people died, what is the Russian tactic and so on.”

“Second thing we know, there is a need… to upgrade the capacity of the NATO countries also in this respect,” Mr Pszczel said, noting that the supply of Patriots was not “excessive.”

“Here we come to the crux of the matter… On one level, yes, proposing that Ukraine should acquire, be provided, given, if you like, as many systems such as, for example, Patriots, because they are very modern and effective… is of course a good idea but the question then is to do with the technical aspects,” TVP World’s guest said, adding that there already were some air defence systems that have been provided to Ukraine, for instance, German Iris-T, Spanish Hawk system, and some more.

Mr Pszczel noted that the delivery of the said systems had been preceded by training of Ukrainian crews, “which then, when supplied, operate them on their own.”

“The issue of the Patriots is, as far as one knows it today, is that they do require quite extensive training and that’s the reason why if we are thinking of a short-term perspective one would envisage or understand the assumption that they need to be operated, in this case, by German staff,” he stressed.

“That creates a political problem because that would mean the presence of [German] military personnel in Ukraine,” TVP World’s guest said.

Would the Patriot system that Germany offered to supply Poland with prevent accidents such as the one of November 15 in Przewodów that had involved at least one missile falling on Polish territory, as a result of which civilian infrastructure was damaged and two people killed? Find out Mr Pszczel’s take on this by clicking the video above.