At the summit next week, leaders of NATO countries are expected to announce details of plans to station four battalions on a rotating basis in Poland and the Baltic states, which all fear potential Russian aggression after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz told reporters in Warsaw: "We are confident that this summit will stabilize the situation both in the east and south. NATO is a defensive alliance. It responds to threats.
“The response which will be given on 8 and 9 July will be a sufficient response, an effective response, a response which is an effective deterrent and providing security for our countries and nations.”
Macierewicz added that 8-9 July gathering in Warsaw would be “the largest NATO summit so far, both in terms of numbers and decisions [and] the breakthrough nature of these decisions. The forces of our allies will finally be in place permanently on the eastern flank.”
Asked about NATO’s relations with Russia, Macierewicz said talks with Moscow should take place “from a position where decisions have been taken” to beef up the alliance’s presence on its eastern borders.
“Prior to this decision, there was no reason to talk. After the decision we can talk about how to maintain peace in the world,” Macierewicz said.
He added: “We are counting on these discussions leading to the withdrawal of Russia not only from aggressive steps, but also from the territories that it illegally took from Ukraine."
The NATO battlegroups expected to stationed in Poland and the Baltic states will be multinational with 800 to 1,000 troops each.
Each will be deployed for six to nine months then replaced by a successor so there is no time gap in between.
Each of the battlegroups is to be led by a so-called framework nation, which will assume command and provide the bulk of the troops.
The US, Britain and Germany have previously declared they will take on such a role, while Canada confirmed on Thursday that it would head one of the four groups.
The PAP news agency reported, citing unofficial sources, that the US will command a battlegroup in Poland, Germany will head a battalion in Lithuania, and Britain a group in Estonia. (pk)