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    Italian Guided Missile Destroyer Arrives in Poland to Strengthen Air Defense Amid Ukraine Crisis

    In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an Italian guided missile destroyer has arrived at the Polish coast to bolster air defense capabilities, announced Mariusz Błaszczak, the Polish defense minister. Błaszczak made the announcement during a press briefing held during his visit to Italy on Wednesday.

    During his visit to Rome, Błaszczak met with his Italian counterpart, Guido Crosetto, to discuss various aspects of bilateral military relations. The discussions encompassed the modernization of the Polish Army, the current security situation in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and increased support for Kyiv’s efforts to counter the Russian invasion.

    On Saturday morning, Błaszczak took to Twitter to inform the public about the arrival of the Italian allied missile destroyer, ITS Caio Duilio, which is heavily armed to provide anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense. The vessel’s deployment aims to fortify the defense of the Polish coast and safeguard critical infrastructure within Poland.

    In a subsequent tweet, Błaszczak credited the presence of the Italian warship in Poland to his recent discussions with Crosetto. He emphasized that the warship’s deployment will enhance the protection of the Baltic coast for a minimum of six months.

    The Italian destroyer, ITS Caio Duilio, entered the port of Gdynia on Saturday, marking its official arrival. Jacek Siewiera, the head of the presidential National Security Bureau, also acknowledged the vessel’s presence and significance.

    “Several dozen hours after President Andrzej Duda signed the decision, the Italian missile destroyer ITS Caio Duilio enters the port of Gdynia. It is one of the most modern ships in Europe: 48 missile launchers and radar capabilities reaching hundreds of kilometers,” Siewiera tweeted.

    He further noted that Italy had joined forces with allies such as the United States, Great Britain, and Germany to collectively defend Polish airspace.

    The Caio Duilio, belonging to the Horizon class of the Italian Navy, is a destroyer identified by hull number D 554 in NATO classification. With an overall length of 153 meters and a beam of 20.3 meters, the vessel is armed with a PAAMS missile system, featuring a 48-cell Vertical Launch System housing either Aster 15 or longer-range Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles. Additionally, the ship is equipped with eight Otomat anti-ship missile launchers, 25 and 76 mm autocannons, and torpedo launchers. It boasts a maximum speed of 29 knots (approximately 54 km/h) and has a crew of 230.

    The arrival of the Italian guided missile destroyer represents a significant step towards reinforcing Poland’s air defense capabilities and demonstrating solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression.

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