Two Patriot missile defense systems from the US military are being sent to Poland as Western European states are preparing their defenses if Russia decides to move further west in the case that it successfully takes Ukraine. The deployment is said to be defensive in nature to protect the US’ NATO allies as Russia has reportedly fired more than 600 missiles into Ukraine in its efforts to take the country over – any stray missiles headed for Poland could be defended properly with the addition of these new missile defense systems.
These Patriot systems are normally stationed in Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany. However, they were repositioned in undisclosed locations in Poland, a vital NATO and Ukrainian ally that had received more than 1.5 million refugees during the ongoing Russian onslaught that has repeatedly targeted civilians and refugees. Poland already has two Patriot missile defense systems that can intercept and destroy tactical ballistic missiles.
“At the direction of the Secretary of Defense and at the invitation of our Polish allies, General Wolters, Commander of US European Command, has directed US Army Europe and Africa to reposition two Patriot Batteries to Poland,” said US European Command Spokesman Capt. Adam Miller.
“This defensive deployment is being conducted proactively to counter any potential threat to US and Allied forces and NATO territory,” said the US European Command through a statement sent to The Wall Street Journal. They claimed that the US was just acting in support of NATO’s Article 5 of the alliance’s agreement and was proof of its commitment to seeing the defense treaty through at all costs.
Harris sent to Poland to Fix Diplomatic Relations
Vice President Kamala Harris earlier announced the placement of the Patriot systems to Poland during her visit to Poland to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda. This will likely help repair any damaged diplomatic relations from the recently rejected Polish proposal of sending Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
VIDEO: At a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, US Vice President Kamala Harris says that "the NATO alliance is stronger and Russia is weaker because of what Putin has done." pic.twitter.com/aIoQYLDzCy
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 10, 2022
“I am here in Poland as an expression of the enduring and important relationship, that, again, has been longstanding, but in particular on the issue of Ukraine is unified and is clear: we will do everything together in partnership, in solidarity to support what is necessary at this very moment in terms of the humanitarian and security needs of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” said Harris in an attempt to patch the recent rift.
She also re-affirmed that the United States is fully committed to defending every inch of NATO territory and subsequently announcing the delivery of the Patriot missile defense systems as a “reminder and demonstration of US commitment to Poland.”
“I’ve said it many times; I will say it again: The United States commitment to Article 5 is ironclad. The United States is prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory. The United States takes seriously that an attack against one is an attack against all,” she said. It was also in this statement that she revealed that the US was committing $13.6 billion in humanitarian and security support for Ukraine, a larger amount than the previously proposed $10 billion.
Harris later received major backlash from the online realm as she had laughed in response to a question regarding Ukrainian refugees, with many observers deeming it as inappropriate. Observers have frequently noted that VP Harris has a tendency to laugh at odd moments or when asked a question she isn’t prepared to answer.
In the earlier Polish proposal for the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to a US base in Germany, they did not make mention of Ukraine or Russia. They just simply stated that they were ready to hand over said aircraft to the United States, presumably to let the US handle the logistical problem of delivering these MiG-29s to Ukraine.
“The authorities of the Republic of Poland, after consultations between the President and the Government, are ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” said the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. They also asked that the US sell them used fighter jets in exchange for the donation of the free planes.
Being on the fence with the logistical challenges of the exchange, the US subsequently rejected the offer, stating that there were complexities with the delivery as the fighter planes would come from a NATO base. This later strained the relations with Warsaw; however, not enough to say that the relationship was sour. Nonetheless, Vice President Kamala Harris was sent over to smoothen out any misunderstanding caused by the rejection.
“The prospect of fighter jets at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” he said. “We do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” he added.
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