Germany is set to end the deployment of three Patriot air defence units to Poland after almost a year, the defence ministry in Berlin said on Wednesday, confirming earlier plans.
Together with the Patriot systems, some 300 German soldiers have also been based in the Polish town of Zamosc, about 50 km (31 miles) from the Ukrainian border, since the start of the year to protect the southern town and its crucial railway link to Ukraine.
The deployment was triggered by a stray Ukrainian missile that struck the Polish village of Przewodow in the region last November, in an incident that raised fears of the war in Ukraine spilling over the border.
The German ministry had said in August that the deployment was unlikely to extend beyond the end of this year as the Patriots would either be needed for use by NATO’s rapid reaction response force in 2024 or would have to undergo maintenance.
The German soldiers will wrap up their operations on Friday and start redeploying from next week, the ministry said.
“I am very happy about the friendly and appreciative reception our soldiers in Zamosc were granted by the Polish military and the people living there,” German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said.
Relations between Germany and Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party have been strained over a range of topics – from arms deliveries to Kyiv to an EU migration deal rejected by Warsaw.
Poland appears to be headed for a change of government after an October 15 election in which PiS won the most seats in the lower house of parliament but fell short of a majority. All other parties have ruled out forming a coalition with it.
Source : Yahoo