News / Europe

    Polish Official Urges NATO to Deploy Troops to Deter Russia

    FILE - Soldiers sit atop amphibious vehicles as NATO troops participate in the NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015, meant to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, June 17, 2015.
    FILE - Soldiers sit atop amphibious vehicles as NATO troops participate in the NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015, meant to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, June 17, 2015.
    Ken Schwartz

    Poland's foreign minister on Wednesday urged NATO to get over its reluctance to deploy troops along its eastern flank, to deter what he says is Russian aggression.

    Russia's involvement in Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea nearly two years ago have made other countries along and close to Russian borders feel less secure, including Poland, Slovakia, Romania and the Baltic nations — home to a large number of Russian speakers.

    Witold Waszczykowski said he disagrees with many of his fellow NATO ministers that the "idea of reassurances from a distance" is the best way to smooth over this insecurity stirred up by Russia.

    For some allies, the presence of troops is considered to be confrontational toward Russia, Waszczykowski told VOA on Wednesday, while in Washington to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry.

    “We cannot accept this philosophy,” Waszczykowski said. “We are saying that a lack of presence created a feeling of weakness and may create a provocation from the Russian side."

    He said the Kremlin needs a strong signal from NATO.

    Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry prior to their meeting at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 17, 2016.
    Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry prior to their meeting at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 17, 2016.

    "Presence is a token of determination to fight, to defend — and this will discourage Russia from any kind of aggressive moves toward eastern and central countries," Waszczykowski said.

    NATO meeting

    Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary general, said Wednesday in Brussels before a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting that the alliance's increased “forward presence” in Eastern Europe sends a "clear signal" to any would-be aggressor.

    “NATO will respond as one to any aggression against any ally,” he said, with a clear reference to Russia.

    Russia reaction

    However, Russia considers expansion by NATO to be an offensive move by a Western military alliance and a threat to its national security.

    According to Reuters, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that NATO's military buildup on its eastern flank, the biggest in Europe since the Cold War, was a destabilizing factor designed to contain Russia.

    Moscow has reacted by building up its defenses and forces close to NATO's borders, and increasing military exercises and drills.

    U.S. response

    Kerry said Wednesday that Poland and the U.S. are determined to make it clear to any country thinking of what he calls "destabilizing activities" that the NATO allies stand strongly together to respect the sovereignty of other nations and the integrity of international borders.

    Poland will host a NATO summit in July, where Waszczykowski said he hopes the ministers will have answers to such threats as Islamic State, instability in Libya and North Africa, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    Some material for this report came from Reuters.

    WATCH: Poland's Foreign Minister Talks About Deploying Troops

    Polish Official Urges NATO to Deploy Troops to Deter Russiai
    X
    February 18, 2016 2:48 AM
    Russia's involvement in Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea nearly two years ago have made other countries along and close to Russian borders feel less secure. Poland's foreign minister is urging NATO to deploy troops to discourage what he says is Russian aggression.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    February 18, 2016 4:29 PM
    It is time to face up to Little Vladdy and be highly confrontational. He is relying upon his self-created and built reputation as a hardliner to thwart confrontation from the West. In reality, Vladdy is terrified of NATO. He is terrified of losing his stranglehold on the Russian press. Whom, given the opening of an opportunity will destroy him completely. Vladdy is all bluster and bulldust. A tiny little man with no friends who murders and robs his people with complete impunity and disregard. His day will come and when it does, enormous quantities of Champagne will flow in Russia and elsewhere.
    In Response

    by: Antianonymous
    February 19, 2016 6:05 AM
    wishful thinking some malicious comments and wishes without real basis.

    by: PJ
    February 18, 2016 2:05 AM
    Strange, i posted a comment a few hours ago and its not here? Whats the matter, can't you find and comments that back up your story? Are they all saying the same thing as me. Never mind i'm sure you'll find a few that suit your article eventually....

    by: PJ
    February 18, 2016 1:00 AM
    Starting to look like a build to a Nato invasion into Russia at some point. I'd be beefing my forces up in a big way if i was Russia!

    by: Just Me
    February 18, 2016 12:23 AM
    Why doesn't the media call putin's policy of expansion what it it is Putin's Imperialistic policy. Trying to re- acquire former Russian satellite countries through what ever mean he can.

    by: William Ashley from: Mexico
    February 17, 2016 11:11 PM
    The other issue is that any such deployment would likely be short term, as Russia is due to run out of developed oil reserves in the next few years. Its military engine will stall at that point... so if anything weird is happening it is happening in the next few years.

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