US corps command in Poland to play vital role on NATO's eastern flank

Rafał Guz/PAP

The US corps command in Poland will be the most important US command on the eastern flank of NATO, and this is a great achievement, Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak has said.

Blaszczak told Polish Radio One that at least 1,000 more soldiers would be transferred to Poland. He added that it was up to the US, as to from where the soldiers would be transferred.

He recalled that US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, at a recent press conference, announced that 6,500 soldiers currently stationed in Germany would be sent back to the US and, from there, they would be moved to Europe and to other continents.

"It will depend on the decision made by the US. We are basing our knowledge on information from Esper, who said that there would be more US soldiers in Poland. And this number, at least 1000, is included in the declaration signed by the presidents of the USA and Poland, last year," said the defence minister.

Blaszczak also reported that "political discussions" regarding the agreement with the US had been completed, and now both parties were "working on the content of the agreement." On its basis, the corps headquarters will be located in Poland. "It will be the most important command of this type in Europe, in this part, on the eastern flank of NATO. This command will head the American forces on the entire eastern flank. This is undoubtedly a great achievement," he said.

During President Andrzej Duda's visit to the White House on June 24, US President Donald Trump declared that some of the American soldiers withdrawn from Germany may be transferred to Poland. Trump announced that number of American soldiers in Germany would be reduced by 9,500 to 25,000 and accused the German government of failing to fulfill its obligations to NATO regarding the amount of resources allocated to defence.

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced on Wednesday that the Pentagon would start the withdrawal of around 12,000 American soldiers from Germany, of which 5,600 would be directed to other NATO countries.

The head of the Pentagon also announced that the US side "plans to rotate to Poland 'the key component' of the newly created command of the US Army V Corps" after Warsaw signs "a defense cooperation agreement and a 'burden-sharing' agreement, as previously declared." The US Secretary of Defence added that "there may also be other options to send additional forces to Poland and the Baltic States."

Esper added that the United States intends to start the complex military relocation operation "as soon as possible." Its start is already planned for the coming weeks.