Poland Wants More U.S. Troops and F-35 Jets
May 1, 2019 (EIRNS)—Poland is taking more steps towards vastly increasing the U.S. military presence on its soil, including the purchasing F-35 jets for its air force. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a TV interview on April 29 that the Polish government aimed to sign a deal to station U.S. troops in Poland this year.
“We can say: the decision to increase the number of American troops in Poland has been made,” Blaszczak reportedly said. He also said, reported Defense News, that a contract to purchase F-35 fighter jets was “not far away” from being signed. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who was in Warsaw a few days earlier, said that a U.S. Air Force team was to be sent to Poland in May to demonstrate the capabilities of the F-35 to Polish Defense Ministry officials.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during a joint press conference yesterday with Foreign Minister and Defense Minister Luis Filipe Tavares of Cabo Verde, responded to Blaszczak’s remarks by reiterating Russia’s view that stationing NATO combat forces on the territory of its eastern members is a violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. Blaszczak’s statement “reflects the U.S. policy of ruining any agreements on ensuring security in the Euro-Atlantic region,” Lavrov said.
“In this case we’re talking about the erosion of one of the basic provisions of the Russia-NATO Founding Act, under which any significant number of troops may not be permanently deployed on the territory of the new NATO member countries.”
“Russia has no plans to attack Poland or any other NATO member country, for that matter,” Lavrov confirmed, continuing that, “However, the countries that desperately try to please Washington by excelling in Russophobic rhetoric will not stop short of taking these types of steps to realize a confrontational approach to security.” Russia, instead, tries to work through the NATO-Russia Council to reduce tensions. While some NATO members agree in private with the Russian approach, in public they stick to the NATO line in order to maintain consensus.
“This is sad. Hopefully, the understanding of the futility of approaches like these will, ultimately, make headway,” Lavrov remarked.