WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The U.S. will "soon" take a decision to place heavy army equipment in warehouses in Poland for decades to come, the eastern European country's defense minister said Sunday.
A former Moscow satellite, Poland believes that its security is threatened by Russia's hostile actions in neighboring Ukraine and is seeking permanent U.S. and NATO presence on its territory and in the region, as a deterrent.
Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak tweeted Sunday that he and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter held talks about placing U.S. heavy army equipment in Poland last month.
"Decisions are near," he wrote.
Siemoniak did not specify numbers or what type of equipment was being discussed. The White House and the U.S. defense secretary need to approve such a move.
Siemoniak told the PAP news agency that if such warehouses with equipment are placed in Poland, they will remain "for years and for decades."
"It is not a temporary reaction to crisis," he said.
Poland's General Command spokesman, Col. Artur Golawski, said on Twitter that efforts have been taken to find locations where the equipment could be placed.
Commentators say that permanent stationing of heavy equipment near potential threat areas help speed up the reaction to an event, as relocation of troops is much easier and faster than relocation of large, heavy equipment.
NATO is holding massive sea, land and air exercises this month in Poland, the Baltic states and Romania in response to calls from these members for greater security reassurance.
Among the thousands of NATO troops is the new rapid reaction force, the so-called spearhead, agreed on at a NATO summit last year. It is testing it relocation and cooperation potential in southwestern Poland.