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11 Apr, 2023 23:45

Poland wants ‘strongest’ US-backed army

PM Mateusz Morawiecki claims the US is committed to a “permanent presence” in Poland
Poland wants ‘strongest’ US-backed army

The US will increase its permanent military presence in Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Tuesday. He made the comments after a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.

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

“The US is fully committed to strengthening its presence in Poland,” he 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 prime minister 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 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 GDP.

Harris acknowledged that the “ironclad commitment” of the US 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.”

The prime minister also called the close relationship between Warsaw and Washington “the best vaccine against Russian imperialism,” and said the two countries are “two poles of Western civilization.”

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 as yet no permanent US base in Poland, which joined NATO in 1999. President Andrzej Duda said in February that 10,000 US troops were quartered in his country, double the number deployed in 2020 on a rotational basis.

Warsaw has 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.