The former commanding officer of Poland’s special forces commando unit GROM, General Roman Polko, tells portal wPolityce.pl that the reach and detection effectiveness of the Patriot system will help Ukraine shield key cities like Kyiv and key infrastructure such as nuclear power stations.
Gen. Polko, when asked about the U.S. decision to grant Ukraine the Patriot systems, stated that the U.S. is usually circumspect about giving access to such advanced technologies to other countries, especially those that are not in NATO.
However, clearly Russia’s “genocidal attacks” have led the U.S. down this path, he said. Gen. Polko said he believes the systems will tighten up Ukraine’s air defenses.
The former Polish special forces commander believes that the decision is strategic and long-term. He points to the fact that Ukrainians will have to be trained to use the system and that will take some time and will not therefore affect air defenses immediately.
He also noted that one patriot missile costs $5 million, which makes firing them at small drones or missiles rather an expensive way of handling air defense. This is why he feels that the Patriot system will be used only in protection of key infrastructure and major cities, should the expected offensive take place in the New Year.
Asked about the significance of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the U.S., Gen. Polko said that it was to thank the Americans for the extensive assistance received. The assistance made it possible for Ukraine to contain Russia’s advance and for it to begin to recover territory. The U.S. support has been far more significant than that of European powers such as France and Germany, hence it was logical Zelensky should visit the U.S. first.
Gen. Polko believes that this war has shown how Germany has neglected its own military. He said it is astonishing that the world’s fourth-largest exporter of arms should neglect its own army. Gen. Polko suspects that Russian influence may be at play.
The poor condition of Germany’s military is why the U.S. is still the mainstay of European defense. He hopes that there will be no more talk about the U.S. being a rival but instead be viewed as an ally with which Europe needs to build closer ties.
Finally, Gen. Polko was asked whether it was likely Russia would attack Ukraine from Belarus again given the significant build up of forces in the south of Belarus. He replied that he felt that the build up was mainly a matter of propaganda, but he acknowledged that Putin would very much like to drag Belarus into the war in Ukraine.