Germany offers to aid Polish air patrols after rocket strike

Germany said Wednesday it could send its own warplanes to support patrols over Poland following a deadly rocket strike in a village close to the border with Ukraine.

Police cars in Przewodow
Police cars arrive in the Polish village of Przewodow, where an unexplained missile strike killed two people on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Evgeniy Maloletka

“As an immediate reaction to the incidents in Poland, we will offer to strengthen air policing with combat air patrols over its airspace with German Eurofighters,” defence ministry spokesman Christian Thiels said at a regular press conference.

“This can happen from tomorrow, if Poland so wishes,” Thiels said.

The sorties would be launched “from German airbases” without needing to relocate the jets to Poland, he said.

Such patrols take place in “specific airspaces”, which are “agreed exactly with the Polish side”, Thiels said.

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht would seek to speak to her Polish counterpart on the matter today, he added.

Officials are racing to clarify the circumstances of the missile strike near the Polish village of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border, which occurred on Tuesday afternoon, killing two farm workers.

Ambassadors from members of the NATO military alliance went into emergency talks in Brussels after Poland put its military on high alert in the wake of the blast and summoned Russia’s ambassador.

“Based on the preliminary information available, the strikes are most likely a result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems that were engaged to take Russian missiles out of the sky,” Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden had said it was “unlikely” the missile came from Russia, and the Kremlin said it had “nothing to do with” it.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier on Wednesday warned against any “hasty conclusions” about the incident.

Scholz stressed it was important to “make clear that this would not have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine”.

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Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine

Poland's defence minister has asked Germany to ship a Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system intended for Poland to Ukraine instead to help defend itself against Russia.

Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine

The offer follows a deadly missile blast in a Polish village last week that Warsaw believes may have been a stray Ukrainian air defence missile launched against a barrage of Russian strikes.

“I have asked Germany to send the Patriot system offered to Poland to Ukraine where it could be installed on their western border,” Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter late on Wednesday.

“This would allow Ukraine to protect itself against incurring more casualties and blackouts and reinforce the security of our eastern border,” he said.

READ ALSO: Germany offers to aid Polish air patrols after rocket strike

The German government earlier this week said it had reached an agreement to help Poland protect its skies following an explosion near the Ukrainian border which killed two people.

Poland and NATO have said the blast was probably caused by a stray Ukrainian air defence missile launched against a Russian strike but have said Moscow is ultimately responsible.

Germany has already sent Patriot air defence units to Slovakia, where Berlin hopes to keep them deployed until at least the end of 2023.