U.S. Agrees To Station 'About 1,000' More Military Personnel in Poland
By RFE/RL June 12, 2019
WASHINGTON --The United States has agreed to station "about 1,000” more military personnel in Poland as the government of the East European nation seeks to counter what it perceives as a growing Russian threat.
However, the joint U.S.-Poland declaration signed by President Donald Trump on June 12 stopped short of calling it a permanent presence, potentially easing Kremlin concerns about a larger U.S. military presence near its western border.
About 4,500 U.S. troops have been stationed in Poland on a rotational basis for the past few years in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Moscow's continued military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russia, which occupied part of Poland under the tsars, "is again showing its imperial face” by its actions in Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said at a joint press conference with Trump where the deal was announced.
According to the agreement, the U.S. military will expand its "enduring presence” in Poland by about 1,000 personnel "in the near-term.”
Trump confirmed that Poland will be buying 32 F-35 fighter jets made by Maryland-based Lockheed Martin. Trump gave no time frame on the aircraft deliveries.
Poland last year proposed spending as much as $2 billion to host a permanent U.S. armored division, which consists of between 10,000 and 15,000 troops, to strengthen its defense.
The U.S. president also said that Poland had agreed to buy an extra $8 billion of liquefied natural gas from U.S. companies. Poland is seeking to ween itself off Russian energy, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of its gas imports.
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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