Poland, a former Soviet satellite state, is closely aligned with the United States
March 5, 2014
Following the dust up in Ukraine the United States has announced it will send warplanes to Poland and expand NATO’s air patrols over Baltic countries.
“This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to support our allies,” Pentagon boss Chuck Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said it is “time for all of us to stand with Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity.”
The U.S. has suspended military cooperation with Russia. All scheduled training exercises and other exchanges have been cancelled.
Currently there are four F-15 fighter jets on patrol. The Pentagon will send an additional six and also one KC-135 aerial refueling tanker.
The Defense Department collaborates with Poland on aviation training with F-16s and C-130 transport planes. Officials say they may add more aircraft and personnel to the mission.
Poland, a former Soviet satellite state, is closely aligned with the United States. It borders the Russian exclave Kaliningrad in the north and Ukraine to the southeast.
“Traditionally, Polish security policies are strongly oriented towards the US. Poland constantly tries to underline its special relationship with Washington,” Otfried Nassauer, head of the Berlin-based Information Center for Transatlantic Security, told Deutsche Welle.
In December, Russia deployed Iskander missiles within a hundred kilometers of the Kaliningrad exclave. In response to a question about the missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin said putting Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad would be a logical response to American plans to build a missile defense system in Europe.
The United States decided against placing a European Interceptor site in Poland and the Czech Republic following opposition to the plan.
The United States initially said the missiles were intended to protect against future missile plans by Iran. It was noted at the time Central Europe is beyond the range of Iranian missiles such as the Shahab-6.