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18 Sep, 2018 19:39

Trump mulls idea of permanent US military base in Poland, says Warsaw ‘likes it very much’

Trump mulls idea of permanent US military base in Poland, says Warsaw ‘likes it very much’

US President Donald Trump is eyeing a permanent military presence in Poland, saying the country “likes the idea very much.” Warsaw had stated earlier it was ready to pay up to $2 billion to have a US military base on its soil.

“Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland, and certainly it's something we'll discuss,” Trump said on Tuesday while speaking at the White House before meeting his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

Poland “likes the idea very much,” according to Trump, who has been looking at the prospect of putting a permanent military base in Poland “very seriously.” Duda’s statements at the Tuesday briefing indicate Warsaw is indeed more than eager to have a permanent US base on their soil.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I was smiling when talking to Mr. President. I said that I would very much like for us to set up a permanent American base in Poland, which we would call ‘Fort Trump’ and I firmly believe that this is possible,” Duda said, after expressing hope that Trump “will make a decision to deploy to Poland more US units together with equipment.”

Poland seeks to become the “main ally” of the US in Europe, according to Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who described the prospects for a US base on his country’s soil as a “real possibility.” The “US army twice in the previous century saved Europe from ruin,” Blaszczak claimed, and now Poland desires to “act preventatively and boost our defense capabilities.”

Top Polish officials explain their desire for a US military base by saying it countering an allegedly existing “Russian threat.” Moreover, Warsaw is ready to pay up to $2 billion for the dubious privilege of having a permanent US installation on its soil, according to an official document, published in May.

Poland, which is a member of NATO since 1999, has been taking a very active part in the recent military activities of the alliance, described as an attempt to counter “hostile” Russian moves. These activities, deemed by the alliance to be “aggressive” are mainly military drills, held by Russia on its own territory.

One of the “scariest” war games, dubbed Zapad-2017, were held by Moscow last September, prompting media scare that it was actually a cover for an “invasion” of neighboring countries. Poland held the ‘national’ Dragon 17 exercise in response, which involved troops from the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania and other countries. The military exercise involved some 17,000 troops and some 3,500 pieces of hardware, substantially exceeding the scale of the big, scary Russian drills.

Poland has been hosting the US troops for years already, with their numbers growing in the past few years. Last October, the US sent a new mechanized brigade there. Equipment of the previous US unit stationed there, has, however, “remained in place” for reasons unexplained, according to Russian military.

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