US-Poland defence deal to enhance deterrence against Russia - Pentagon

"We congratulate the negotiators on this important milestone for U.S.-Polish relations and our collective transatlantic security," the US defense secretary said. Greg Nash/PAP/EPA

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, announcing on Monday the completion of the US-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) negotiations, said the deal will enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO and reassure the Allies.

"The United States and Poland have completed negotiations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), building on our existing security cooperation and cementing our long-standing defense partnership," Esper wrote in a statement posted on Pentagon's official website.

According to the statement, the US's forward presence in Poland on NATO’s eastern flank will improve the Alliance's strategic and operational flexibility.

"We congratulate the negotiators on this important milestone for U.S.-Polish relations and our collective transatlantic security," the US defense secretary added.

He also pointed out that the EDCA reflects the shared vision outlined in the Joint Declarations signed by US and Polish Presidents Donald J. Trump and Andrzej Duda in 2019. "Specifically, it provides the required legal framework, infrastructure and equitable burden-sharing essential to deepening our defense cooperation," Esper wrote.

He specified that the EDCA will enable an increased enduring U.S. rotational presence of about 1,000 miliatry personnel, "to include the forward elements of the U.S. Army’s V Corps headquarters and a Division headquarters, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and the infrastructure to support an armored brigade combat team and combat aviation brigade." This is in addition to the 4,500 US troops already stationing on rotation in Poland.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Friday announced on Twitter the completion of Polish-US negotiations on the EDCA adding that a final agreement on the permanent presence of US troops in Poland will be signed in "a relatively short time."

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Duda's visit to the White House on June 24, US President Donald Trump declared that some of the American soldiers withdrawn from Germany may be transferred to Poland.

On Wednesday, Esper announced that the Pentagon was starting the relocation of around 12,000 US troops from Germany, of which some 5,600 would be re-allocated to other NATO member states, including Poland.