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8 Sep, 2023 15:22

US reveals number of troops stationed in Poland

The deployment is a sign of unprecedented military cooperation, Washington’s ambassador has said
US reveals number of troops stationed in Poland

Poland’s security is guaranteed by more than 10,000 US troops stationed on its territory, Mark Brzezinski, Washington’s ambassador to Warsaw, has said, adding that joint efforts to support Ukraine have strengthened the countries’ ties.

The envoy lauded the current state of American-Polish relations in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita newspaper published on Friday. His father, the late US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, was known as a Russia hawk and strong advocate of anti-Soviet containment.

“I believe that never before in our history have Poland and America been so connected... Our common cause is to support the people of Ukraine,” Ambassador Brzezinski said.

He revealed that more than 10,000 US troops are currently stationed throughout Poland. “This is not a coincidence. Hand in hand with Polish soldiers, we are carrying out the mandate of [US] President Joe Biden: Every inch of NATO territory – including Poland, of course – is safe and protected,” Brzezinski noted, praising Warsaw’s decision to join the US-led military bloc in 1997.

The US and Poland “cooperate militarily as closely as allies can,” with Warsaw receiving top-of-the-line defense equipment from its ally, including M1 Abrams tanks, Apache helicopters, F-35 fighters, and HIMARS missile launchers, he added.

Brzezinski's comments came after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki revealed on Thursday that the country’s defense budget had quadrupled from 37 billion to 155 billion zlotys ($36 billion) since 2015, when the standoff between Russia and the West was just picking up steam. 

Russia has repeatedly criticized NATO for increasing its military presence on its borders, warning that Moscow interprets such actions as a threat. That stance has been echoed by Poland’s neighbor and Russian ally, Belarus, which has accused Warsaw of stoking tensions in the region by sending additional troops to the border. 

A standoff between the two countries heated up last month after Poland significantly increased security on the Belarusian border. Polish officials cited suspected attempts by migrants to illegally cross into the country and alleged that operatives of the Russian defense contractor Wagner Group were trying to infiltrate the country.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has denied that the Wagner PMC was planning to attack Poland. However, he signaled that he had no intention of protecting the EU from migrants, citing the bloc’s reluctance to cooperate with Minsk on the matter.