The United States is set to establish a military presence permanently in Poland the Polish Defence Ministry said on Friday, as the US deploys an additional 1,000 troops there. US President Donald Trump agreed on June 12 last year with Polish President Andrzej Duda to dispatch the said number of troops to the NATO ally.
However, negotiations on how much Poland might pay and where the troops could be stationed could not be arrived upon. Mariusz Blaszczak, Defence Minister of Poland, said in a statement, "We did it. We have finished the negotiations on military cooperation."
Poland is setting a growing store by its bilateral defense relationship with its NATO partner, fearful of an increasingly assertive posture from Russia to the east since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Poland currently hosts a rotating contingent of over 4,000 U.S. troops. A permanent presence, which the statement says will now number at least 5,500 troops, is likely to cost Poland more. The deal also involves the development of expertise for Polish forces in the areas of reconnaissance and command, with the possibility of more US forces coming to Poland in case of an increased threat, the statement said.
Pulling Out of Germany Separate Issue
The financial details of the new deal were not revealed in the ministry's statement. The US military on Wednesday expanded on plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany and indicated that some of them could be moved to Poland or the Baltic states.
It was unclear from Friday's statement where the additional 1,000 troops would come from, and whether some would be reassigned from Germany. Poland's Defence Ministry was not immediately available to comment and the US embassy declined to do so. US officials have insisted that the agreement with Poland and the decision to pull some troops out of Germany are separate matters.
(With inputs from agencies)