WARSAW ($1=4.58 Polish Zlotys) — On November 15, two rockets [according to some sources three] fell on the territory of Poland. They caused the death of two Polish civilians. They also caused material damage. The first hours after the incident, designated as such by Polish President Mr. Andrzej Duda, were tense because Poland is a NATO member country. This sparked controversial comments from across the political spectrum, with some talking about getting NATO involved in the war in Ukraine. The speech of the President of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky was in this tone.
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The investigation into the incident is still ongoing. The aim is to find out who is responsible for the incident in Poland. For now, according to official Polish authorities, the missiles are Russian-made. In this regard, the next day, November 16, Poland convened an extraordinary meeting of NATO ambassadors. Warsaw activates Article 4, which provides for analysis, discussions, and a decision on what to do in the future. The activation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty was very close to happening if Poland had judged that the launched missiles exploded in Poland with a deliberate attack. Later that day, Mr. Duda announced that regardless of who fired the rockets, Poland believed it was an accident and not intentional.
Poland has requested that the skies above Poland be even better protected. Thus, NATO members have agreed to guarantee this security. American-made air defense systems will be deployed in Poland. These are MIM-104 Patriot, official sources confirm. The systems will be delivered from Germany. According to the Polish Minister of Defense, Mr. Mariusz Blaszczak, Germany has confirmed its commitment “to deploy Patriot launchers”. Mr. Blaszczak added, in an interview with Polish media, that the terms of delivery of the systems and their deployment are currently being specified.
Germany’s defense minister also confirmed the news. Mrs. Christine Lambrecht spoke to the German media Rheinische Post stating that Berlin initiated the idea of giving the American-made Patriot air defense systems to Poland.
Ms. Lambrecht also said Poland would deploy the systems on its border with Ukraine. This proposal came from the Polish side. In this way, Poland wants to protect itself from subsequent incidents that may also take innocent human lives. Also in this way assuming that further incidents are possible, the MIM-104 Patriot officially joins the war in Ukraine, as a passive presence, protecting a non-belligerent country from the weapons of both belligerents.
According to a statement by the German defense minister, Berlin will help ensure the protection of Polish airspace, as well as the passive but ready operation of the Patriot systems, by sending Eurofighter fighters, too.
Hopefully, it won’t happen, but the MIM-104 Patriot may for the first time in its history have to counter Russian missiles. If Russia launches a missile with garbled coordinates, the only possible one that can reach Poland is a cruise missile with a large range. Attempts to intercept Russian or Iranian kamikaze drones also flying in the wrong trajectory are also possible. However, Patriot has had a poor track record with similar drones in the Middle East protecting critical infrastructure sites, both in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Also, the Patriot is not suitable for defense against targets that generally fly in a very low trajectory.
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