NATO forces will help protect Poland from invasion: President Duda
PR dla Zagranicy
The presence of US troops in Poland will help prevent attacks on the country from being repeated, President Andrzej Duda has said.
Polish President Andrzej Duda awards NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, general Curtis Scaparrotti, the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński.
Duda on Thursday met NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, general Curtis Scaparrotti, ahead of an official welcoming ceremony for a multinational battalion battle group in Orzysz, northeastern Poland, which has arrived in the country under a plan to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
The Polish president awarded Scaparrotti with the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, awarded to foreigners for distinguished contribution to international cooperation.
Duda pointed out that the US was the “framework” nation at the head of the NATO battalion in Poland.
He said the battalion’s welcoming on Thursday was symbolic, as Poland marks Katyń Memorial Day on 13 April.
The day commemorates the execution of over 22,000 Poles – chiefly officers and reserve officers – in April 1940 by the NKVD, a forerunner of the Soviet Union's secret police organisation, the KGB.
The killings took place at various points across the then Soviet Union, among them the Katyń Forest, now western Russia, where over 4,400 Poles were buried in mass graves, each victim shot in the back of the head.
Duda said that promises were broken by allies when Poland was “treacherously attacked” by Germany from the west and Russia from the east at the start of WWII in September 1939.
“The Polish army was not able to face two enemies because allies did not help,” Duda said.
“The presence of general [Scaparrotti] and US forces, the world’s largest army... in our country today is a vocal testimony that the world is changing and this has created a strong chance that the dramas of our past, such as those of 1939 and 1940, will never be repeated.”
The battalion which will be officially welcomed in Orzysz on Thursday arrived in Poland in March. The decision to send four multinational battalion battle groups, each comprising some 1,100 toops, to Poland and the Baltic states was taken at a NATO summit in July last year. (vb/pk)