By Murat Temizer
WARSAW (AA) - Germany's offer to send Patriot defense systems to Poland has kicked a political storm in Warsaw after a stray missile from Ukraine landed in Polish territory, killing two people.
The Law and Justice Party (PiS), the largest member of the ruling coalition, which does not want the nationalist electorate to break away from it, gave an unexpected response to Germany's offer.
Jarosław Kaczynski, who heads PiS, said it would be better for Germany to hand over the air defense systems to Ukraine.
However, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak welcomed the move saying the Patriot systems should be deployed to the Ukrainian border.
German Defense Minister Chrstine Lambrecht said on Nov. 24 that "these Patriot missile defense systems are part of NATO's air defense and are intended for NATO regions."
If deployed outside NATO territory, this should be consulted with NATO and allies in advance, Lambrecht added.
- Warning over dependence to Germany
Speaking to Polish media, retired Gen. Stanislaw Koziej, former chief of the Polish National Security Bureau, said: "It is clear that the more air defense vehicles there are, the safer Polish airspace is."
Some Polish political figures also opposed the proposal, arguing that taking the Patriots would mean dependence on Germany.
Former Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz targeted former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in a statement.
"Tusk's main aim is to make Poland dependent on Germany and to make Warsaw dependent on Berlin's decisions, including command decisions," Macierewicz said.
Late last month, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if Germany did not deliver the Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine, his country would accept them.
Pawel Szrot, head of the Cabinet, also told reporters that President Andrzej Duda attaches importance to the security of Warsaw.
"President Duda believes that if the Patriots' deployment in Ukraine turns out to be impossible, we should accept them," Szrot said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin earlier this month, said: "It is very valuable that Germany offers Patriots to Poland. Germany acts like a responsible ally. When it comes to Ukraine, Germany has already sent an air defense system, the Iris-T, there."
"We want to strengthen the security of Poland. Our contacts continue and the process is not completed yet," Scholz said.