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US announces permanent military base in Poland

President_Biden_met_with_President_of_Poland_Duda_in_Warsaw_to_support_Ukraine_(1)

Warsaw, Poland – Poland has been pushing for it for years, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears to have been the final straw.

US bolsters military presence in Europe

During a historic NATO summit held this week in Madrid, President Joe Biden said that Washington would significantly ramp up its military presence in Europe to increase NATO’s eastern flank, including setting up the 5th Army’s permanent headquarters in Poland – the first permanent US contingent in the region.

The United States also plans to increase the number of US destroyers based in Spain, position a rotational brigade in Romania, enhance its rotational deployments in the Baltic states and send additional squadrons of fighter jets to the UK, among other moves.

There are currently about 100,000 US service members in Europe, according to John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

“We mean it when we say an attack against one is an attack against all,” Biden said in Madrid during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“This is news that we have been waiting for a long time,” Polish President Andrzej Duda reacted during a press conference.

“Clear signal to Moscow”

The Polish government has for years warned the US and other Western partners of the threat posed by Russia and of the Kremlin’s territorial ambitions in Central and Eastern Europe, especially following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Polish officials have long tried to convince Washington of the need to set up a permanent US military base in Poland, but have faced – until now – strong resistance from a US political establishment reluctant to engage more American soldiers in Europe.

Plans for the establishment of a so-called “Fort Trump” in Poland a few years ago fell through despite intense lobbying by Polish security officials.

But Russia’s war against Poland’s neighbour Ukraine has radically changed Washington’s assessment of the threat posed by Moscow. Even before this week’s announcement, the US – as well as other NATO members – had already increased the number of troops stationed in Poland and other countries located on the Alliance’s eastern flank.

“Something that seemed impossible to many is becoming a fact today,” Poland’s deputy-Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz wrote on social media. “It is a clear signal to Moscow,” he said, as many fear that should Putin win the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin could look towards Poland or the Baltics next.