Poland calls on NATO to deploy troops in eastern Europe

Polish President Duda says NATO needs to have substantial infrastructure and military presence on the ground in eastern European countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Poland's President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (R) leave a joint news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, January 18, 2016.

Poland President Andrzej Duda on Monday called on NATO to deploy "substantial" forces and equipment in central and eastern Europe to ensure the region’s security.

Russia has previously threatened to retaliate against any such moves and some NATO members, including Germany.

On the other hand NATO has warned Russia several times over its actions in the Baltic sea.

Duda, speaking at a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said he wanted the July summit to take practical decisions to boost security in the region.

"Today, everything points to the need to have substantial presence of both infrastructure and military units on the ground in central European countries, as well as a well worked-out system for these units and defence should there be any act of aggression," Duda said.

"That means increasing presence in central-eastern Europe, both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of troops of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This is to be agreed ... what shape this presence would take," Duda said.

"I would want it to be permanent to the greatest extent possible," he said, adding that would require drafting precise contingency plans in the event of attack and more joint military drills.

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 and has given support to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Some former Warsaw Pact countries have asked NATO to establish a permanent troop presence, nut the alliance has instead decided to strengthen exercises and rotate forces in and out of the region.

Stoltenberg replied to Poland’s president by saying that NATO has a persistent military presence in the region, adding "And I trust that after the Warsaw summit we would see more NATO in Poland than ever before."

Russia in its military doctrine has named NATO as a key risk to its security amid deteriorating ties with the West over the conflict in Ukraine.

Some politicians in Western countries have stressed they need Russia's help in combating terrorism and in the fight against DAESH in Syria and Iraq.

However, Russia has also been frequently criticised for focusing air strikes against Syrian opposition forces rather than DAESH positions.

The United States' new envoy to the Global Coalition to counter DAESH, Brett McGurk, said only 30 percent of Russian air strikes that began in late September in Syria have targeted DAESH positions.


TRTWorld and agencies