The United States will deploy its ground forces to Poland in response to events in Ukraine, according to Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.
He made the remarks one day after a meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The decision has been made on a political level and military planners are working out details, the minister said, adding that there will also be intensified cooperation in air defense, special forces, cyberdefense and other areas.
Poland will play a leading regional role “under US patronage,” he said.
“The idea until recently was that there were no more threats in Europe and no need for a US presence in Europe anymore,” Siemoniak said. “Events show that what is needed is a re-pivot, and that Europe was safe and secure because America was in Europe.”
In a briefing with Siemoniak on Thursday, Hagel mentioned that Washington is considering sending American troops to Poland.
“We have to look at every possibility” based on past actions of Russia, Hagel said.
He added that this includes “an entire range” of options, including a rotation of US troops sent to bases in Poland.
Meanwhile, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the agency is considering military options in Europe.
“As Secretary Hagel made clear, we continue to look for ways to reassure NATO allies of our strong commitment to collective defense under Article Five,” he told Fox News.
“To that end, we are considering a range of additional measures we could take to bolster air, maritime and ground readiness in Europe.”
The US military deployed 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland in recent weeks and delivered 10 F-15s to the Baltic states for air-patrol programs.