A battery of US Patriot missiles and the troops to accompany it will arrive in Poland from the start of April, according to PAP news agency.
"The Defense Ministry expects the first stage of the stationing of a Patriot air-defense battery and a 100-man service team to get under way in the [northern] town of Morąg at the turn of April," stated the agency.
Poland and the US, who are both NATO members, signed an agreement last December under which Poland's air defenses would be upgraded. The deal can be seen as an alternative to a Bush-era plan for a missile shield, which President Barack Obama scrapped last September.
Russia is unlikely to respond with enthusiasm towards the plan, having repeatedly warned NATO against placing missiles in former Soviet-bloc countries. Russia previously stated that it would strengthen its naval base in the Kaliningrad oblast, which borders Poland, if such plans were to get underway.
Nonetheless, Anatoliy Serdyukov, the Russian defense minister, said last Friday that Russia would only install Iskander tactical missiles in Kaliningrad if it believed Moscow was directly threatened.
The Polish-US December agreement awaits the signature of President Lech Kaczyński for ratification, but his approval is widely seen as a formality. (GP)
Source: Thomson Reuters
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