For Strengthen NATO, Poland to Expand United States Air Base

For Strengthen NATO, Poland to Expand United States Air Base
For Strengthen NATO, Poland to Expand United States Air Base

Warsaw - Poland will expand the military base housing the United States Combat Aviation Brigade in the coming years. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak made the announcement on Monday (7/11/2022) during a visit to the facility.

Located in the center of the Polish city of Powidz, the base is expected to strengthen the US Air Force's operational capabilities to support Polish and NATO forces in the region. "The facility will have new hangars and warehouses as well as bulk fuel storage facilities nearby," he said, accompanied by US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski.

The Powidz base houses US Apache attack helicopters. "Powidz is turning into a military complex, preparing to support Polish and NATO forces on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance," Blaszczak said amid unprecedented tensions between NATO and Russia over Moscow's continued military offensive in Ukraine.

The base expansion comes as part of the 2020 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Washington and Warsaw. "The agreement creates conditions for the permanent presence of the US Armed Forces in Poland," the Polish Ministry of Defense said, adding that the deal would "strengthen" national security. A total of 114 infrastructure projects at 11 sites were included in the agreement, which the ministry said would "enable rapid development of additional combat capabilities in Central and Eastern Europe.”

According to Blaszczak, Warsaw also plans to build its own military potential by buying helicopters and tanks from the US. It is expected to receive the Abrams tanks as early as next year. Purchase orders for 96 attack helicopters have also been placed, according to the defense minister.

Last week, US President Joe Biden said US troops who were "temporarily" deployed to Poland were likely to stay there for a "long time." Warsaw had previously asked Washington to permanently base troops in Poland, but that would technically violate NATO's agreement with Russia.

It is not known how many US troops are currently in Poland, a key NATO logistics hub to support the government in neighboring Ukraine. In May, the US ambassador in Warsaw revealed more than 12,600 American military personnel were in the country, the largest number in history.

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