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NATO allies in talks to send more troops to eastern flank: Polish official

22.04.2022 12:00
A senior Polish national security official said on Friday that the NATO alliance was discussing ways to boost troop numbers on its eastern edge amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Paweł Soloch.
Paweł Soloch.PAP/Mateusz Marek

Paweł Soloch revealed the plan in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio.

“Talks are under way to expand the NATO battalion groups stationed in Poland and the Baltic states ... into brigades,” he said. 

“So that means more troops,” he added.

“Besides more soldiers would be on standby for deployment to the eastern flank,” Soloch also said.

He revealed that Polish President Andrzej Duda was pushing for NATO troops based in countries bordering the war zone to be “combat-ready.” 

Poland is 'a natural hub for the American forces in Europe'

Soloch, who is Duda’s national security advisor, said he hoped “the US will establish a permanent and bigger presence in the region, especially in Poland.”

He described Poland as “a natural hub for the American forces in Europe amid the confrontation with Russia.”

At the beginning of February, the United States had around 4,500 troops on rotation in Poland, its fourth-largest deployment in Europe, the PAP news agency reported.

Under a bilateral 2020 agreement, Poland had committed to building an infrastructure for housing up to 20,000 American soldiers, according to officials. 

In mid-February, as Russia prepared to invade Ukraine, the United States sent an additional 4,700 troops from its 82nd Airborne Division to southeastern Poland, in anticipation of Russia's attack on Ukraine and an influx of war refugees.

Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine: 'insufficient manpower'

In his interview with Polish Radio, Soloch also commented on Russia’s long-anticipated new offensive in the east of Ukraine.

He predicted that the Kremlin would “fail to achieve its aim of capturing Ukraine’s south and east in time for the Victory Day holiday on May 9.”

“They simply have insufficient manpower and … their reserves of ammunition and fuel won’t be sufficient, either,” Soloch said. 

Friday is day 58 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP