Poland seeks permanent U.S. military presence

NATO

Poland’s defense minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, said Monday that he had held talks in Washington recently about securing a permanent presence of U.S. troops in his country. He said the U.S. forces were necessary to provide regional security after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, and due to Moscow’s ongoing support for separatists in Ukraine. Poland and neighbors Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have all expressed concern about Russia’s efforts to expand its influence in the region. Poland and the Baltic states are particularly worried that Moscow could close the Suwalki Gap, a 60-mile-long strip of the Poland-Lithuania border between Russian ally Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. Without it, the Baltic states would be cut off from the rest of Europe.

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