London says the move will protect Warsaw against “Russian aggression”
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has announced that London will deploy Sky Sabre air defense missile systems in Poland in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“We are going to deploy the Sky Sabre medium-range, anti-air missile system to Poland with about 100 personnel,” Wallace said on Thursday, during a news conference with his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Blaszczak, in Warsaw.
Wallace added that the move would help Poland in “protecting her airspace from any further aggression by Russia.”
Blaszczak thanked London, noting that 350 British soldiers had already arrived in the country last month, in addition to 100 British military engineers that were deployed last year along the Polish-Belarusian border.
Poland also currently hosts around 8,750 US troops, the majority of whom arrived in the six months leading up to the Russian campaign. In recent weeks, the country has become a hub for the shipments of weapons from the West to Ukraine, as well as for foreign fighters wishing to fight for Kiev.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.
Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.