The US has sent surface-to-air missile defense systems to Poland in recent days, a senior US defense official said Wednesday.
The official said that the two Patriot batteries were stationed in Germany and repositioned in undisclosed locations in Poland.
Poland’s “invitation” led the US to make the move, which the same official said was “100 percent in keeping with… our [NATO] Article 5 commitments.”
The official stressed that the Patriot batteries were “purely defensive” and meant to counter potential threats to the US and its allies in NATO territory.
Russia’s aerial bombardment of Ukraine has been steady almost two weeks since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade the neighboring country.
Ukraine’s calls for a no-fly zone to be implemented over the country have gone unheeded as Western countries do not want to become directly involved in the war.
Separately, the US official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said that Poland’s public decision to hand over fighter jets to the US was “not coordinated with the Department of Defense.”
Poland released a statement on Tuesday saying they were ready to deploy all of their MiG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the US.
Ukraine has been asking for fighter jets, and one floated proposal was for Poland to hand over older jets, and the US would sell the Poles newer ones.
“If a sovereign nation-state wants to talk to Ukraine about capabilities and decides on their own to provide those capabilities in a bilateral way, that’s what sovereignty is all about,” the senior US official said Wednesday when asked about why the US had turned down the deal.
“It’s not the United States’ position to take a position on what another sovereign nation might be talking to Ukraine about what on what to provide. So, as we said before if Poland or any other nation wants to have that discussion with Ukraine, we respect that process,” the official said.
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