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Plan for US Army HQs in Poland 'a boost in a dangerous situation:' deputy PM

29.06.2022 23:00
A Polish deputy prime minister said on Wednesday that Washington’s decision to create a permanent headquarters for US Army V Corps in Poland represented “a boost in a dangerous situation.”
Polands Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak talks to reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.
Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak talks to reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.PAP/Mateusz Marek

Mariusz Błaszczak was speaking at a key summit of the NATO alliance in Madrid, Spain, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Permanent US military presence in Poland

Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden announced the decision to station the headquarters of US Army V Corps in Poland in response to threats coming from Moscow after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Błaszczak called the move “a very important decision for the security of Poland and the whole eastern flank of NATO.”

Błaszczak, who is also defence minister, added that Poland “had lobbied for this decision for years.”

He told reporters that NATO’s rotational presence in Poland would now become “a permanent presence.”

“This is what we have advocated,” he said.

Błaszczak added that the US Army V Corps HQ command post, based in Poland, would oversee US land forces stationed throughout NATO’s eastern flank.

“NATO is built in such a way that this is mainly about mobility, about providing a boost in a dangerous situation,” he also said.  

Finland, Sweden invited to join NATO

Błaszczak noted that Finland and Sweden had been invited to join NATO, describing the decision as “a historic breakthrough.”

“We have accomplished a lot when it comes to the security of our homeland,” he stressed. 

Russia identified as ‘most significant and direct threat to allies’ security’

Other key decisions of NATO's Madrid summit include a new strategic concept for the next decade and identifying Russia as "the most significant and direct threat to the allies' security," public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

NATO leaders meeting in Madrid also approved an eight-fold increase in the number of NATO troops on high readiness, to more than 300,000; and the option to enhance NATO’s battlegroups on the eastern flank up to brigade level.

Support for Ukraine

NATO leaders, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, agreed on “a strengthened package of support for Ukraine.”

They said this would accelerate the delivery of non-lethal defence equipment, improve Ukraine’s cyber defences and resilience, and support the modernisation of the country's defence sector in its transition to strengthen long-term interoperability.

“In the longer term, we will assist Ukraine, and support efforts on its path of post-war reconstruction and reforms,” NATO said in a statement. 

At the request of the Polish president, the summit declaration also said: “We welcome efforts of all Allies engaged in providing support to Ukraine. We will assist them adequately, recognising their specific situation.”

NATO’s Madrid summit runs until Thursday. 

Wednesday was day 126 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, bbc.comnato.int

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.