US troops in Poland a symbol of NATO solidarity: US Army Chief

Polish Minister of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, met in Warsaw with Ryan McCarthy, the US Secretary of the Army, to hammer out the details of the military cooperation plan agreed on by Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Donald Trump during a state visit to the White House in late June.

Around 4,500 US troops are currently stationed in Poland but President Trump’s recent announcement that he will pull 9,500 of the troops stationed in Germany has Polish politicians hopeful that the planned increase in the US troops in Poland will be larger than initially expected.

Minister Błaszczak also thanked Mr McCarthy for the US contribution to a recently concluded military exercise, telling reporters at a press conference "I thanked the secretary for the fact that US troops were in Poland during the pandemic, that the Defender-Europe 20 exercises were conducted after all. It was a big challenge for all of us but it turned out that the exercises could be held successfully.

Minister Błaszczak, also told the reporters that he and Mr McCarthy were now working on implementing the plan drafted by the Polish and American presidents during their recent meeting in Washington, saying “I’m very pleased that we are hammering out the details of the agreements concluded between President Donald Trump and President Andrzej Duda, agreements which will increase the number of American troops in Poland".

Minister Błaszczak pointed out that according to the Polish-US agreement, a general of an American division will be permanently stationed in Poland, stating, "it's good for Poland's security and it's good for the security of NATO’s entire eastern flank.

Commenting on his cooperation with the Polish Minister of Defence, Mr McCarthy said the US military presence in Poland strengthens NATO's deterrence potential and contributes to the security of the region; increasing this presence ensures democracy, freedom and respect for the principle of sovereignty".

He also stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had changed the Defender-Europe 20 military exercise, but that the Polish and American troops, together with other partners and allies were able to carry out at least a part of it.

He continued by underlining that the stationing of US troops in Poland is a symbol of NATO solidarity, saying “the US military presence in Poland strengthens NATO's deterrence potential as well as contributing to security in the region. Increasing this presence ensures democracy, freedom and respect for the principle of sovereignty. Polish support for NATO's presence is crucial and is a clear signal that NATO's allies are united and determined to defend NATO, its whole territory and to prevent any aggression from enemies”.

It’s expected that the US troops to be moved from Germany to Poland will arrive in their new host country before the end of this year