Amid the calls for more weapons for Ukraine, Germany on Friday expressed the willingness to consider the idea of transferring German Patriot air-defence systems to the east European country.
The development comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that the military alliance might not oppose such a move.
In this connection, Germany said it was discussing with allies Poland’s demand that the Patriot systems should be sent to Ukraine.
Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. But Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send the same to Ukraine instead.
Stoltenberg said such deployments should be decisions for individual nations, taking into account rules around final users. “The specific decisions on specific systems are national decisions,” he told reporters in Brussels.
“Sometimes there are end users’ agreements and other things so they need to consult with other allies. But at the end of the day, it (the decision) has to be taken by the national governments,” he added.
Stoltenberg’s comments came after German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Thursday said sharing Germany’s Patriot units outside NATO territory would require prior discussions with NATO and the allies. Patriots are produced by the US company Raytheon.
Responding to a question whether NATO risked becoming a party to the conflict by sending Patriot units to Ukraine, Stoltenberg noted that allies already had delivered advanced weapons to Kyiv without sending NATO personnel along.
“The way this has been done is that when there is a need for specialists to operate these systems, be it air defence systems or other advanced artillery systems, the Ukrainians have received training in a NATO country,” he said.