Following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Slovakia last March 17, the Patriot air defense systems from Germany and the Netherlands have started to arrive in Slovakia to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Deployment of these systems will continue throughout the coming days.

Slovakian Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad confirmed the arrival of the first units of the Patriot air defense system on March 20. According to him, the system will be temporarily placed at the Slič Air Force Base as other areas for deployment are still being discussed with experts for it to be placed at locations that cover the largest amount of territory.

These Patriot units were reported to be operated by the Germans and the Dutch as Slovakia still uses its Soviet-era S-300 system. These Soviet S-300s were also the subject of talks between Nad and Austin during his visit.

“Thank you very much, Germany and the Netherlands, for their really responsible alliance decision to accept our request for fundamental strengthening of the defense of the Slovak Republic,” he said.