WARSAW, Poland, April 8 (UPI) -- NATO will increase its presence in Poland in the next few weeks to calm fears in Eastern Europe, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said.
Speaking after NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss reinforcing NATO’s eastern border in light of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Tusk said an increased NATO presence would be “visible” in coming weeks.
Tusk was assured earlier by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that a military presence in eastern NATO nations would be strengthened. Poland shares a border with both Russia and Ukraine.
“The discussion is not about if, but rather about the scale, pace and some technical aspects of strengthening Poland’s security,” Tusk told the Polish broadcasting network TVN.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski had said earlier he hoped for two heavy NATO brigades on Polish soil in a permanent presence, but NATO opted instead for rotating assignments that would include sending troops and equipment for short-term exercises and reinforcements.
In March, the United States increased its scale of military exercises in Poland, sending 12 F-16 fighter planes and an additional 300 troops.