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Decision on US military depots in Poland expected soon — Poland’s defense minister

June 15, 2015, 12:31 UTC+3 WARSAW
The minister said the plans on establishing US military depots in Poland do not contradict the 1997 treaty with Moscow that envisages non-deployment of NATO forces close to Russia’s borders
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US military vehicles in Poland (archive)

US military vehicles in Poland (archive)

© PA/VALDA KALNINA

WARSAW, June 15. /TASS/. The decision on establishing US military depots on Poland’s territory is due to be taken in the near future, the country’s defense minister said in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily on Monday.

"The final decisions have not yet been made, but this should happen quickly," Tomasz Siemoniak said, reminding that he discussed this issue with Pentagon chief Ashton Carter during his visit to Washington in late May.

The minister said the plans on establishing US military depots in Poland do not contradict the 1997 treaty with Moscow that envisages non-deployment of NATO forces close to Russia’s borders.

"The deployment of the above mentioned equipment is not in violation of the 1997 agreement. This concerns only the equipment for the brigade, and it is shared by several countries," the minister explained.

Poland expects that the "rotating presence" of US forces in the country will later become permanent, Siemoniak said, adding that Carter has vowed that the US troops could remain in Poland until at least 2016.

"But everyone understands well that they will be here as long as it is needed. And if this is so, the construction of facilities to store weapons is a result of pragmatic analysis. It is much more convenient and cheaper to have everything in one place than to redeploy heavy equipment each time. This is an excellent decision for us," he said.

Warsaw is studying possibilities for housing these storage facilities, the minister said, adding that Drawsko Pomorskie in northwestern Poland will suit as there is a huge firing range there as well as military units, corps in Szczecin and sea ports.

"This place is a strategic location in the Baltic, near the future base of US missile shield in Redzikowo," he said.

Speaking on the US motives, the Polish defense minister said Washington is convinced that the Ukrainian crisis will persist and the Minsk peace process has slowed down.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that the Pentagon was considering plans to store US heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 troops on allied bases, namely in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.

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