US selling Patriot missiles to Poland amid tensions with Russia
The United States is selling Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Poland amid increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
The US embassy in Poland confirmed the deal on Tuesday and described it as “an important moment in the security partnership between Poland and the United States.”
The embassy said in a statement Poland’s choice will simplify joint training exercises with other NATO countries.
The five-billion-dollar deal is set to be finalized with the US firm of Raytheon.
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said the country’s defense minister will travel to the US in May to finalize the contract.
“For the armed forces’ technical modernization, and the Polish armed forces’ resilience, to be effective, the so-called anti-missile shield… had to become the priority of priorities,” Komorowski said on Tuesday.
The Ukraine conflict has dragged relations between the US and Russia to their lowest point since the Cold War.
Washington’s military deal with Poland comes after the US military began training Ukraine government forces to battle pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.
The Kremlin has warned that the US involvement could further “destabilize” Ukraine, where the conflict has killed more than 6,000 people in the past year.
The United States has provided $75 million worth of military aid to Ukraine, but has so far stopped short of sending lethal weapons.
Moscow says Washington is responsible for the escalating tension in Ukraine through sending arms in support of the Ukrainian army.