Poland says it will host 1,000 British troops from 2017

By REUTERS
January 22, 2016 16:56
1 minute read.

 
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Britain will permanently station 1,000 military personnel in Poland from next year, Poland's defense minister said late on Thursday, in apparent contradiction of an announcement by Britain about plans for temporary exercises on Polish soil.

On Wednesday, the British Ministry of Defense said London would send nearly 1,000 military personnel to take part in NATO exercises in Poland.

But Poland's Antoni Macierewicz told Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja that Poland and Britain had agreed at a meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Scotland that troops would stay in Poland permanently.

"One of the decisions, which resulted from yesterday's talks (is) a permanent presence of the British forces on Polish territory, that is 1,000 soldiers, who will permanently station on Polish territory from next year," Macierewicz said.

"They will switch around, it will be a rotational, but permanent presence of 1,000 soldiers."

The Ministry of Defense in London declined to comment on Friday.

Warsaw, which is due to host a NATO summit in July, has repeatedly pressed for more NATO forces on its soil and elsewhere in former communist-ruled Europe, arguing it needed a stronger response to Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

But some of its NATO allies are reluctant to permanently station troops in the region, wary of violating a 1997 NATO-Russia agreement on the size of forces the alliance can have in former Warsaw Pact countries.

Moscow has previously signaled it would regard the establishment of a standing NATO presence on its borders as a hostile act.

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