Poles Looking for More U.S. Troops as President Duda Comes to Washington To Meet Trump
June 23, 2020 (EIRNS)—Polish President Andrzej Duda will be in Washington to meet President Donald Trump on June 24, and expectations in Poland are high that Trump will announce the stationing of several units of U.S. troops in Poland. A Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reportedly claimed on June 22 that at least 2,000 U.S. troops would be moved to Poland, including the U.S. Army 5th Corps headquarters, currently based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the 52nd Fighter Wing with 28 F-16s based in Spangdahlem, Germany.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, when asked about the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna report today, replied: “Based on the declarations signed by both Presidents, the American troop presence in Poland will increase by at least 1,000 soldiers. The rest are details that both Presidents will be talking about tomorrow at a press conference in the White House.”
U.S. troops, previously reported to number between 4,000 and 5,000, are currently in Poland on a rotational basis and have been engaged in rebuilding the exercise schedule that was scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a just-concluded river-crossing exercise in northeastern Poland, in the region of the so-called Suwalki Gap, that involved British, Romanian and Croatian troops, in addition to U.S. and Polish troops. The Suwalki Gap is the Polish-Lithuanian border region between Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave through which Russian troops are “expected” to invade should they launch an aggressive war on NATO. It’s analogous to the Fulda Gap of Cold War fame except for being about 1,000 km closer to Moscow. Blaszczak, during a visit to troops participating in the river-crossing exercise, sent a thinly veiled message to the Kremlin, saying “it’s important to show countries which have recently invaded other countries that we are strong and ready to ensure the security of Poland and the whole eastern flank of NATO.”