Scholz: German offer of air defense system to Poland remains

November 29, 2022 GMT
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends the trade union conference of the dbb Beamtenbund und Tarifunion, an organization of public service and private service sector unions, in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 29, 2022. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends the trade union conference of the dbb Beamtenbund und Tarifunion, an organization of public service and private service sector unions, in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 29, 2022. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that his country’s offer to send Patriot anti-missile systems to Poland remains on the table despite Warsaw’s suggestion that they should go to Ukraine instead.

Poland’s proposal has received a cool response from Berlin, where some are concerned that deploying Patriots to Ukraine could draw NATO into the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Defense experts say training for the highly sophisticated system could also take years, meaning it would not meet Ukraine’s immediate needs.

“Our offer to the Polish government to protect their own country is not yet off the table,” Scholz told reporters during a news conference in Berlin.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, NATO beefed up defenses along its eastern flank. The alliance deployed U.S. Patriot batteries to Poland and German Patriot batteries to Slovakia, as well as a French equivalent system to Romania.

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Scholz said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had thanked Germany during a call Tuesday for the financial and military support it has provided to Kyiv so far, including air defense systems.

Germany is looking into providing more Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, as well as the IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system, he said.

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