15 October 2018

Trump says U.S. considering permanent military presence in Poland

KONFRONTASI-President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States is considering a request from Poland for a permanent U.S. military presence in the fellow NATO country, acknowledging that he shares Poland’s concerns about possible Russian aggression.

Poland has repeatedly requested a permanent U.S. military presence on its soil to counter Russia, offering up to $2 billion in funding for such a base.

The United States currently rotates troops through Poland temporarily but permanently stationing forces there would be expensive given costs that can include housing for families, schools and hospitals.

Russia expressed concern in May over reports about Poland’s request, saying NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders undermined stability in Europe.

Polish President Andrzej Duda made a direct appeal to Trump for a permanent U.S. base, telling a joint news conference with the American president that he would name the base “Fort Trump,” and that it would serve as a bulwark against what he considers a threat from Moscow.

Trump said he shared Duda’s concern about Russia but that Russia respects strength and that the United States has strengthened its military under his leadership.

“I am with the president. I feel that he is right,” he said.

Meeting Duda earlier in the Oval Office, Trump said Poland’s request was under consideration.

“We’re looking at it very seriously, I know Poland likes the idea very much, and it’s something that we are considering, yes,” he said.

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