A base for US Patriot missiles may appear in Poland, near the territory of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, already next year. The base will most likely be built about 100 kilometers far from the Russian border, Polish newspapers wrote on January 20.
Officials of the US administration said last year that a number of Patriot missiles would be deployed in Poland as a compensation for the decision not to deploy ten interceptor missiles within the scope of the US missile defense system plans. The USA and Poland signed a document about the status of US missiles in Poland on December 11, 2009.
It was originally planned that the US missiles and technical personnel would be deployed on the outskirts of Warsaw. It turned out later that the location had been moved closer to the Russian border. The explanation for such a move was rather vague.
“The decision was not based on strategic issues. The chosen location will provide best conditions for US soldiers and best technical conditions for equipment,” Gazeta Wyborcza quoted Poland’s Defense Minister Bogdan Klich as saying.
The date when US servicemen and missiles appear in Poland has not been exposed yet. Most likely, it will happen at the end of March or in April of the current year.
A Patriot squadron is a complex of up to eight launch systems designed for enhanced Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC) missiles. The missiles intercept long-range and medium-range missiles. About 100 US servicemen of technical personnel will arrive in Poland too.
When George W. Bush’s administration announced the plans to deploy elements of the national missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic three years ago, Russia found a way to respond to that initiative. Russia decided to deploy its state-of-the-art Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad enclave. Obama later changed his mind about the missile defense system, and Russia canceled Iskanders too. Now it seems that Russia will have to look for something else in response to Patriot plans.
The USA moved the location closer to the Russian border in an attempt to contain Russia. The administration of Poland has been very unfriendly towards Russia recently. Polish President Lech Kaczynski has been particularly supportive of such anti-Russian politicians as Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Ukraine’s outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko.
Kaczynski and other Polish officials released a number of remarks claiming that Poland would need US missiles as protection against Russia’s influence. The Polish administration was very upset about Obama’s decision to shelve missile defense plans. Now it seems that the USA will compensate Poland for its support of US-led policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and so forth.
It goes without saying that Poland does not even want to think about the fact that the decision will not strengthen Europe’s security and that Russia will not be pleased with the demonstration of military power near its borders.
In 2010, Poland will mark 90 years since the defeat of the Red Army near Warsaw, 70 years since the execution of Polish officers in Katyn, 65 years since the victory in the Great Patriotic War and 30 years since the establishment of Solidarity anti-communist trade union. All these dates will only make anti-Russian sentiments in Poland stronger. The presidential election in Poland will take in the fall.
Anti-Russian hysteria hit Poland five years ago, when Poland was electing its president too. Russian diplomats’ children were attacked and beaten in Warsaw. Polish officials demanded Russia should apologize for all real and unreal sins possible.
Now it seems that history repeats itself.