Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. (Agence France-Presse)
WARSAW — Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that Poland has launched consultations with the US government to boost the two countries’ military ties. Speaking at the Polish parliament Wednesday, Tusk said the move is related to the escalation of the crisis in neighboring Ukraine.
“This includes cooperating to organize joint Air Force drills with the participation of the Polish and US air forces,” Tusk said.
The prime minister also said the conflict has prompted Poland to shift the priorities of the country’s ongoing military modernization program. By 2022, the government is aiming to spend some 130 billion zloty (US $42.7 billion) to acquire new weapons and overhaul the existing armament of the Polish Armed Forces, as earlier announced by the Defense Ministry.
“We have to be prepared for long-term instability across Poland’s eastern border. This is why we will be developing a range of means to strengthen our fast-response capacity in critical situations,” Tusk said.
The conflict pits Ukraine’s recently formed government led by Prime Minister Areniy Yatsenuk against Russia, which backs the country’s ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Poland was one of the first countries to officially recognize the new government. ■