NATO to station four battalions in Poland and Baltics
PR dla Zagranicy
NATO will station four battalions in Poland and the Baltics, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has confirmed after meeting the military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.
NATO's Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a previous visit to Warsaw. Photo: NATO
Stoltenberg was in Warsaw ahead of a 8-9 July summit of the Western military alliance in the Polish capital.
Following the meeting, Macierewicz said: “Our conversation confirmed that four groups of combat battalions will be stationed on a rotating basis in Poland, as in the Baltic countries, which will constitute an important element of an extended permanent NATO presence in the East.”
He added that one of the battalions would be stationed in Poland and the rest in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
At a press conference on Tuesday at the University of Warsaw, Stoltenberg emphasised NATO’s "close political relationship with Poland".
“Over the years, 40 Polish soldiers have given their lives serving under a NATO flag in Afghanistan. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
He added that the upcoming summit is being held in tense times. “It will take place at a critical moment for our Alliance. A moment where our security and our values face significant challenges. Challenges both from the east and from the south.
"To the east, we see Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Its continuing actions against Ukraine. And a significant build-up of its military forces – stretching from the Barents Sea, to the Baltic and the Black Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean.
“To the south, turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa has unleashed the biggest migrant and refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
"We see other threats that have no respect for territorial borders. Terrorism. Cyber-attacks. Nuclear, and ballistic missile proliferation. To carry out NATO’s mission in this more dangerous world, we need to strengthen our collective defence, and to project stability beyond our own borders.
"This will be the focus of our decisions at our Warsaw summit in July.” (rg/pk)