US defends Polish reinforcements
A US agreement with Poland to deploy 1,000 extra troops is only a defensive measure needed for its security, according to Georgette Mosbacher, the US ambassador to Warsaw, in reply to complaints from Russia.
Poland would purportedly fund the creation of the extra accommodation and infrastructure for the new American arrivals.
Warsaw said it would fully fund the establishment of a US special operations capability and an area support group.
Donald Trump’s promise last week of extra troops was in response to President Andrzej Duda’s request to counter what the nationalist government in Poland sees as growing Russian hostility.
Duda proposed an investment of US$2 billion to create a permanent US base in Poland. Trump has not committed to the controversial proposal.
The 1997 Nato-Russia Founding Act, while not a legally binding commitment, said Nato had “no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members … and do not foresee any future need to do so”.
It also critically promised to not place bases on its new eastern border through the “permanent stationing of substantial combat forces”. Poland has urged the US to regard that provision as void after Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov last week accused Washington of “aggressive” intentions.
A former Russian special forces chief, Vladimir Shamanov, who is a parliamentarian, said he feared American drones could carry nuclear weapons.
Mosbacher said “what we’re talking about is merely defensive … a country enabled to defend its borders”.
“And history is proving, particularly here in Poland, that [it] has to be very careful with regard to its neighbours and be able to defend itself,” the ambassador added.
The US deployed troops in Poland as part of a 2016 agreement with the rest of Nato in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. The US does not have permanently stationed forces in Poland but about 4,500 US personnel are now stationed in the Nato member on a rotational basis.
“We’re talking about the eastern flank of Nato and our responsibilities as important war allies; Poland and the United States. We want to take the necessary action to be defensive,” Mosbacher told the media.
Duda and Trump last week in Washington also signed an agreement to building Poland’s first nuclear power station with a budget of around US$26 billion, which is expected to start operating in 2033 with a capacity of 1-1.5 gigawatts (GW).
Acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said: “Enhanced bilateral cooperation in security will deepen our Polish-American partnership, which is vital to addressing today’s current threats and challenges.
“We look forward to this continued defence relationship, and friendship, for years to come.”
US troops in Poland are deeply unwelcome to Russia. Picture credit: EUCom