Britain deployed the Sky Saber missile system in Poland with about 100 troops, raising fears that Russia’s military aggression will not stop at Ukraine’s borders.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace made the announcement Thursday during a trip to Warsaw.
He said: “We will deploy the Sky Saber medium-range anti-aircraft missile system in Poland with about 100 men to ensure that we stand by Poland, protecting its airspace from further aggression by Russia.”
We look at why this happens and what it means.
Will Russia attack Poland?
The Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian military base in Yavoriv, 15 miles from the Polish border, was seen as a warning shot by Vladimir Putin.
The International Center for Peacekeeping and Security was hit by eight Russian cruise missiles on Sunday, killing at least 35 people and wounding 134 others.
It has been used by NATO forces to train Ukrainian troops and is believed to have been used by training foreign volunteers to join the Ukrainian army.
The Russian Defense Ministry claims that Ukraine uses the base as a “training center for foreign mercenaries before they are sent to areas of hostility to Russian military personnel, as well as a base for storing weapons and equipment from foreign countries.” ». He warned that “the destruction of foreign mercenaries arriving on Ukrainian territory will continue.”
The attack demonstrated that Russia was militarily capable of attacking Poland. However, the British government believes Moscow is unlikely to choose to do this.
On Monday, Health Minister Sajid Javid told BBC radio that a Russian attack on NATO territory was “not impossible … but I still think at this stage very unlikely.”
He added: “We have made it clear to Russia, even before the start of this conflict, that even if a single Russian foot enters NATO territory, it will be considered an act of war.”
NATO uses a collective security system in which member states agree to defend each other in response to attacks by any outside party.
If Russia attacked a NATO country like Poland, it would be at war with all 30 NATO members.
Why did the British send the Sky Saber to Poland?
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the missile system was deployed following a request from the Polish government and would remain under the control of British forces at all times.
“This is, as always, pure defensive capability that we provide bilaterally to Poland,” the spokesman said.
The move appears to be part of strengthening NATO assets in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression.
Germany also agreed on Thursday to supply Slovakia, which borders Ukraine, with Patriot air defense batteries, citing security concerns.
Slovakia is reportedly ready to supply Ukraine with the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems it uses, in which case the Patriots will replace the systems they delivered.
“Internet trailblazer. Troublemaker. Passionate alcohol lover. Beer advocate. Zombie ninja.”