US missile defence base in Poland about to be completed says PM
A US anti-missile base in the northern Polish village of Redzikowo is set to become operational in the near future, the Polish prime minister has said.
He made the announcement on Saturday during a visit to the US Naval Support Facility at the Redzikowo Air Base along with US Ambassador Mark Brzezinski.
"We are actually on the eve of... a major phase of the anti-missile shield implementation," Morawiecki said referring to the Aegis Ashore Missile Defence System (AAMDS) being built in Redzikowo.
He said the defence of the Polish sky is as necessary as the defence of Polish land, therefore the government is conducting an "unprecedented programme of investments in both."
Morawiecki added that the entire modernisation of the Polish army, its integration within the Nato defence system is "unprecedented" and "makes Poland more secure than ever before."
"We've learned that Putin acts just like a schoolyard bully - he is afraid of the strong, makes no moves towards the strong, he attacks the weak," he said during his speech.
"Therefore, there can be no reset policy, no appeasement policy or a policy of fictitious de facto dialogue with Putin," Morawiecki added.
According to him, "only the policy of armament, the policy of a strong Polish army and the modernisation of the Polish army will be our guarantee of security, in conjunction with our alliances, with our American allies, Nato allies."
"Today we are in the strongest military alliance in the history of the world," Morawiecki added.
US Ambassador Brzezinski said that never before had the American and Polish armies been in such close cooperation and "so very well integrated in their activities, which can be witnessed here in Redzikowo... That's why we are secure."
According to Brzezinski, "this state-of-the-art (Aegis Ashore - PAP) facility introduces Poland to the system of interdependence... to the anti-missile shield that protects his country."
"Poland gives America this security," he said.
After completion, the Aegis Ashore missile defense facility at the Redzikowo Air Base will undergo final testing by the US Navy after which it will become the US's second anti-missile land base in Europe, marking the end of the final phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPPA).
The EPPA is part of a Nato anti-missile system designed to protect the continent against short- medium- and intermediate-range missiles from Iran. In addition to the planned base in Redzikowo, the system is also comprised of the Aegis Ashore base in Deveselu, Romania, as well as an early-warning radar facility in Kurecik, Turkey and a command centre in Ramstein, Germany. The system is complemented by a maritime element of Aegis situated on a US Navy destroyer stationed at the Rota base in Spain.
The Redzikowo base will be composed of AN/SPY-1 radar, Mk 41 VLS launchers and anti-ballistic SM-3 (Standard Missile - 3) rockets and is the final uncompleted element in the system.
Riki Ellision, an expert at the US Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, told PAP in May the Aegis Ashore system would deter a limited first strike, protecting Polish citizens and the country's critical infrastructure.