Pentagon to extend fighter jets deployment in Poland till end-year
April 18, 2014
Chuck Hagel and Tomasz Siemoniak
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that the American fighter aircraft deployed in Poland in March amid the Russia crisis would remain in the country for the rest of the year.
“We’re committed to maintaining that augmented presence to the end of the year,” said Hagel during a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.
In light of Russian aggression in Ukraine, Poland has no choice but to invest more in defense and forge closer ties with the U.S., Siemoniak said.
“We want to be as close to the West as possible,” Siemoniak said. “There is no other way for us to guarantee our own security.”
Hagel also urged allies to contribute to the U.S. air detachment mission in Poland, where the dozen of U.S. F-16s and about 200 troops have maintained a steady presence since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Ottawa on Thursday that his country is sending six CF-18 fighter jets to Poland as part of a NATO air-policing mission.