Poland Considering Formal Request for Permanent NATO Bases

German Leopard tanks, Aug. 17, 2010Poland and the Baltic states said on Thursday they were seeking permanent NATO deployments on their soil to counter increased Russian military activity, and a Polish internal document suggested the matter may be raised at a Warsaw summit next year.

Polish proposals contained in a planning paper agreed by the National Security Bureau and seen by Reuters, underlined the depth of feeling across eastern Europe over a war that has cost over 6,100 lives and raised fears of a Russian expansionism….

Under Polish objectives listed for the NATO summit in Warsaw in mid-2016, the document refers to “seeking NATO’s permanent regional presence,” and added in parentheses “military bases with heavy equipment….

“The document is not a firm commitment that Poland will make the request at the summit. General Stanislaw Koziej, head of the National Security Bureau, told Reuters Warsaw’s position could change before the summit, for example, if Russia were to comply with the Minsk peace agreement for eastern Ukraine.

But he said: “Unfortunately, I think there is no chance this agreement is fulfilled….”

Koziej said Poland would be seeking to turn the current NATO presence in eastern Europe into a permanent one. NATO has, or plans to have, command centers in the region and troops from different countries stationed in turn.

“It’s also about defense infrastructure, bases with supplies, fuel, spare parts, weapons and so on,” Koziej told Reuters in an interview authorized for release on Thursday.

“We would like the decisions at the next (NATO) summit to go in that direction.”

Image: German Leopard tanks, Aug. 17, 2010 (photo: Bundeswehr)