US Defense Secretary open to discussion about sending more troops to Poland: report
PR dla Zagranicy
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he is open to discussion about increasing the American military presence in Poland, according to reports.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (centre). Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński
Mattis was speaking during a meeting in the Pentagon with Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Mattis praised Poland for deciding to steadily hike defence spending to 2.5 percent of its GDP, IAR added.
Błaszczak held talks with Mattis on Friday.
Mattis thanked Błaszczak for Poland's continued hosting of US and NATO forces, and for its contribution to the campaign to defeat the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, the US Department of Defense said on its website.
“These contributions, along with your hosting of NATO's 2016 summit in Warsaw, illustrate Poland's deep commitment to collective security, a commitment that includes the purchase of a Patriot air and missile defense system last month,” Mattis said, as quoted by the defense department website.
A day earlier Błaszczak met President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton for talks on increasing the number of US troops in Poland, cooperation in NATO, the potential threat from Russia and the modernisation of the Polish army, Polish Radio reported.
Amid fears of Russian aggression following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, NATO decided at a Warsaw summit in July 2016 to deploy four rotating multinational battalions to Poland and three Baltic countries.