Additional US troops are set to be stationed in Poland ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the country for an event to commemorate the start of WW2. The US Ambassador to Berlin had earlier suggested that US troops in Germany could relocate to Poland after a spat over Berlin’s failure to meet its NATO defence spending target.
Poland and the US have agreed upon six locations for the stationing of the new US troops in the country, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak confirmed on Friday, 30 August. Blaszczak added that the relationship between Poland and US is currently “the best in history.”
“We have agreed on six locations, we talked about a seventh location,” said Blaszczak at a joint news conference with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has come to Poland for the 80th anniversary of the start of the second world war.
In June 2019 Poland and the US signed a deal allowing the US to increase its military presence on Polish soil by 1,000 troops, in addition to the 4,500 US troops stationed there as part of the NATO forces rotation scheme.
The news comes a day after US president Donald Trump cancelled his trip to Warsaw following the declaration of a state of emergency in Florida due to the approaching Dorian Hurricane. US Vice President Mike Pence is said to be set to take Trump’s place during the second world war commemorations.
“Poland has been an outstanding partner of the U.S. and NATO, spending more than 2% of GDP on defence,” said US National Security Adviser Bolton during the joint conference. He also confirmed that the visit of the US president to Warsaw will be rescheduled soon.
In June Blaszczak said that the agreement between two states was “a good decision for Poland, a good decision for countries located on the eastern flank of NATO, and a good decision for the entire North Atlantic Alliance.” The Defence Minister added that Poland was considering the purchase of F-35A Lightning II fighters.
It has been later reported that Washington would also place a squadron of US MQ-9 Reapers on the territory of its NATO ally – a decision that was not welcomed by Moscow, given that Russia shares a land border with Poland.
A spat between Germany and the US at the start of August, amid Berlin’s failure to meet a 2% target on defence spending set by NATO, saw the US envoy to Germany Richard Grenell suggesting that some American troops could be redeployed from Germany to Poland. However, Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has since spoken out against the idea.