The United States and Poland have agreed for the US to deploy at least 1,000 additional American troops and have a permanent military presence in the European country.
The agreement, which was announced by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Friday, would probably arouse Russia’s indignation against the backdrop of NATO-related tensions between Moscow and Washington.
The deal would have Washington station a permanent garrison of troops in Poland to oversee forces on NATO's eastern flank, Blaszczak said.
"At least 1,000 new soldiers will be deployed in our country. We will have an American command in Poland. This command will manage the troops deployed along NATO's eastern flank," Blaszczak said in a press release.
"It will be the most important center for ground forces in our region," he added, stressing that Warsaw and Washington had sealed the deal on military cooperation and would soon sign the final pact on the enduring presence of US troops in Poland.
The bilateral agreement also entails training of Polish forces in the areas of reconnaissance and command, with the possibility of more US forces coming to Poland in case of an increased potential threat in the region, according to the press release.
Blaszczak made the remarks a day after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon had plans to send home about 6,400 of the 11,900 military personnel from Germany, and move nearly 5,600 to other NATO countries, including Italy and Belgium.
Esper underlined that the move was part of Washington’s broader plan to redeploy American forces across the world to better address what he called the key threats from Russia and China.
Since last June, Washington and Warsaw have been negotiating the military cooperation deal but the talks came to a halt over where the troops would be stationed and how much Poland would have to pay.
US President Donald Trump has long criticized NATO members for spending too little on defense and complained that the US is paying much of the alliance’s costs. He told a NATO summit in Brussels in 2018 that Washington would “go its own way” if the allies failed to meet his requirements.
Poland has constantly demanded a boost in US military assistance particularly after the Ukraine crisis and the rejoining of Crimean peninsula to Russia following a referendum in 2014.
The United States, which currently has 4,500 rotational troops in Poland, has always sought to expand its military presence by deploying missiles in Eastern Europe and Russia’s doorstep despite repeated warnings from Moscow.
Russia has formerly warned that any increased military presence in Poland could provoke Moscow’s retaliation and prompt it to step up its military presence in neighboring Belarus.
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