19:01 GMT07 April 2020
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    Poland has signed a deal on buying US Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion. The first delivery will include 16 launchers, four radar stations and 208 missiles.

    "Today we are starting to equip Poland with the most modern mid-range air defense system in the world," Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the signing ceremony.

    In their earlier statements, the Polish leadership revealed that new air defense systems would be deployed near the border with Russia.

    READ MORE: How Russia Could Respond to NATO's Eastern Flank Military Build-Up

    The deal has been finally sealed after in February, the Polish National Defense Ministry secured an unspecified cost reduction in Patriot systems from the US, as well as agreed on the acceleration of delivery time. A top Polish defense official previously blasted the $10.5 billion price tag for 208 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, 16 launchers, a few radars and other associated software systems as "unacceptable."

    READ MORE: US Approves $200Mln Maintenance Deal for Poland’s F-16 Fleet

    The Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, air defense system capable of countering tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. An agreement on the delivery of Patriot missile defense systems to Warsaw was signed between the Polish Ministry of National Defense and the US Department of Defense in July 2017 during US President Donald Trump's visit to Poland. According to the initial deal, the Patriot systems should be handed over to Poland by 2022.

    The United States has been further boosting its military presence in Europe, particularly as part of NATO, since 2014, while using the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext for the deployment of additional hardware near Russia's borders.

    READ MORE: Pentagon: Presence of US Army in Poland is Purely Defensive

    Moscow has repeatedly called the deployment of air defense systems near the country's borders a threat to the country, with Russian President Vladimir Putin reminding that the US and European officials previously linked the Patriot missiles' deployment to the threat allegedly posed by Iran's nuclear program, which was no longer present due to the deal reached in 2015 with Tehran.

    Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov stated that  plans to deploy US Patriot systems in Poland are a part of the US strategic intention to surround Russia with missile defense systems "under the pretext of mythical threats to security."


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    Patriot missile, contract, Patriot missile system, NATO, Poland, United States
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