MoD Siemoniak: Poland ‘cannot ignore threats’
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has said that despite the unstable situation in eastern Ukraine, Poles should feel safe.
A M1A2 Abrams fighting vehicle as offloading of the US 1st Brigade 3rd Infantry Division equipment begins from the Liberty Promise ship in at Riga Port, Latvia 09.03.2015. Photo: PAP/EPA/VALDA KALNINA
“However, we cannot ignore any threats and we have to remember that after years of peace, suddenly one country decides to the change the borders of another,” Siemoniak told the public broadcaster TVP on Monday evening.
“[Poland is] a member of EU and NATO and as such we are safe,” Siemoniak maintained, adding that “let us not forget that NATO is much stronger than Russia in military terms”.
Siemoniak underlined that Poland’s security is maintained by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – the founding charter of the military alliance – which calls for mutual defence in case of an attack on one of its members.
“US forces have been stationed in Latvia precisely for this reason, to underline their presence,” Siemoniak said.
The comment comes as the United States on Monday sent heavy armour to Latvia and also announced that it will send some 3,000 troops to the Baltic states for joint exercises over the coming months.
The deliveries are intended to “demonstrate resolve to President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia that collectively we can come together,” US Major General John O’Connor told the AFP news agency in the Latvian capital, Riga.
O’Connor added that the equipment would remain there “for as long as required to deter Russian aggression”.
Meanwhile, Minister Siemoniak said that a Polish training mission for Ukrainan army officers and NCOs will be finalised later this month.
“We would like to undertake this mission in Poland, although there an idea to conduct these exercises in Ukraine has also surfaced,” he said.
“Our decision will made regardless of what the Russians think, what’s more important is that this cooperation is effective”. (jb)