August 15, 2008

Poland to get Patriot Missiles

According to a report in the International Herald Tribune Poland has agreed to a long-stalled deal to place an American missile-defense base on Polish territory. Commenting on the agreement Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said that:

Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later – it is no good when assistance comes to dead people. Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of – knock on wood – any possible conflict.

The agreement involves Poland hosting a United States base with 10 ballistic missile interceptors, launched from a hypothetical future adversary such as Iran. Early warning radars associated with the interceptors would be based in the Czech Republic.

In return Poland would receive what has been described as "enhanced" security cooperation. This includes the latest Patriot air-defense systems, which can be used shoot down attacking fighters or bombers as well as shorter-range missiles. The Patriot battery will be moved to Poland from Germany, and it will be operated by a crew of about 100 U.S. military personnel.

According to Reuters the deputy head of Russia's General Staff, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said that:

When a country accepts deploying something, it obviously takes on some obligations. Here we are talking about a military installation.

Of course, such an installation becomes a target, I'm sorry, an object of interest of the other side. So you have to be careful with it. It is always a primary target of the other side to strike such installations. So the use of such installations cannot stay unpunished.

It can only be regretted that in this most difficult situation, the American side is aggravating relations with Russia. It is a serious issue.

Officials said the agreement would be presented to the Polish legislature, although it currently seems to be unclear whether the US base would require such approval or not.

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