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Poland wants ‘strongest’ US-backed army

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki claims the US is committed to a “permanent presence” in Poland

The US will increase its permanent military presence in Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday after meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.

Harris “spoke about strengthening the permanent presence” of American troops in Poland, Morawiecki told the Polish broadcaster RMF after his visit to the White House.

“The US is fully committed to strengthening its presence in Poland,” Morawiecki said, adding that he also discussed the missile defense complex currently under construction in the northern Polish town of Redzikowo.

Noting that this was a controversial topic just a few years ago, the PM said he was “very glad that the vice president spoke not only about the additional presence of several thousand soldiers, but also about the construction of a base and warehouses for the accumulation of equipment and American weapons,” intended to fight against Russia in Ukraine. 

Morawiecki spoke with Polish reporters after a joint press appearance with Harris at the White House. During the presser, the Polish PM said that Warsaw “wants to become a bedrock of European security” and is on the right track to do so, increasing its military spending this year to 4% of the gross domestic product.

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Polish President Andrzej Duda (L) and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky shake hands in Warsaw, Poland, on April 5, 2023.
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Harris acknowledged that the “ironclad commitment” of the United States has already “resulted in an increase in the number of troops… that we have sent to Poland,” as well as the creation of a “new permanent army headquarters” – but stopped short of publicly announcing any new deployments.

“Poland wants to build the strongest army in Europe,” Morawiecki said. “That is why we want to cooperate with the most advanced defense industry in the world, which is the American industry.”

Morawiecki also called close relations between Warsaw and Washington “the best vaccine against Russian imperialism,” and said the two countries were “two poles of Western civilization.”

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FILE PHOTO. Participants are seen during the 'Train With The Army' event at the Land Forces Academy in Wroclaw, Poland.
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Poland is currently serving as the logistics hub for NATO to funnel weapons, ammunition and equipment to Ukraine, while insisting they are not actually a party to Kiev’s conflict with Russia. There is no permanent US base in Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, as the US-led bloc was bombing Yugoslavia. President Andrzej Duda said in February that some 10,000 US troops were currently quartered in his country, double the number deployed in 2020 on a rotational basis.

Warsaw had sought a permanent US base for years, going so far as to propose naming it “Fort Trump” in 2018, during the previous American presidency. Morawiecki flew to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Harris as President Joe Biden departed on a four-day trip to Ireland.

April 12, 2023 at 05:15AM

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