The German military will phase out Patriot anti-aircraft defense batteries in NATO allies Slovakia and Poland this year, according to a defense ministry official, as Berlin attempts to make the most use of its limited military resources.
“The nations have been informed about the plans,” a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman was cited as saying by Funke media group.
The deployment in Poland will conclude in June, while the one in Slovakia will end at the end of the year, according to the spokeswoman.
Berlin offered to deploy three of its Patriot units to Poland to help secure its air space last year after two men were killed by a stray Ukrainian missile that struck the Polish village of Przewodow last November.
Germany dispatched the first two of the three units to Poland in January while the Patriot air defence system started arriving in Slovakia from NATO partner countries last March, shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine, to help reinforce the defence of NATO’s eastern flank.
The German government has also delivered a Patriot system from army stocks will also be delivered to Ukraine this year.
Germany had 36 Patriot units when it was NATO’s frontline state during the Cold War. Today, the German forces are down to 11 Patriot units.
“If the situation allows it, it makes sense to change the situation. We need the flexibility because we don’t have an infinite amount of equipment,” Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the head of the German parliament’s defence committee was quoted as saying by Funke.