Russia infuriated with plan, had threatened to redirect missiles to Poland
WARSAW, Poland - Poland and the United States reached an agreement Thursday that will see a battery of American missiles established inside Poland — a plan that has infuriated Russia and threatened to exacerbate tensions with the region's communist-era master.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk — speaking in an interview televised on news channel TVN24 — said the United States had agreed to help augment Poland's defenses with Patriot missiles in exchange for placing 10 missile defense interceptors in the Eastern European country.
Tusk said the deal, to be signed later Thursday in Warsaw, includes a "mutual commitment" between the two nations to come to each other's assistance "in case of trouble."
The clause appeared to be a reference to potential challenges from Russia.
Moscow had threatened to redirect missiles toward Poland if the country agreed to host elements of the U.S. missile defense shield.
The recent Russian military incursion into Georgia, along with its bombing of Georgian military outposts and airfields, has rattled former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe.
Poland said the conflict in Georgia underlined Poland's need for U.S. military assistance if it were to cooperate on the U.S. missile defense shield.
The United States has also reached an agreement with the Czech government to place a radar component of the shield in that country. That deal still needs approval from Czech parliament.
Source: Associated Press