By Polina Chernitsa
US has set the date for the stationing of its air force in Poland, which is going to happen this fall. Experts note that officially this move does not violate any agreements between Russia and NATO. However, in practice NATO is building up its military infrastructure along the Russian border.
NATO assures that the deployment of the US Air Force has nothing to do with the alliance and its strategic plans. However, both countries are part of the bloc and it’s not quite right to interpret that as just bilateral agreements, Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute for US and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences thinks.
“NATO countries have the right to station whatever they deem useful wherever they think it is needed. It’s a different issue that actions connected with additional build-up of the NATO power component and the positioning of the alliance’s infrastructure in general always trigger concerns. The situation once again proves that the Russian position is correct. We have always been against NATO expansion thinking that it does not contribute to the strengthening of Europe’s security.”
Warsaw has been strengthening its military partnership with Washington for a few years now, especially in the areas bordering with Russia. The deployment of the US Air Force can be viewed as yet another US move in favor of Poland, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov thinks.
“Warsaw really wants to appear as a reliable US ally, not only in words, but in action. Against the background of economic instability in Europe Poland is the only country whose military budget is growing. When Americans refused to build a missile defense system in Poland, the latter regarded it almost like treason.”
Moscow has asked Washington several times to provide guarantees that the missile defense shield in Europe will not be targeted against Russia. However, the US still refuses to do that. Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has said that on the international level there is still “a lack of understanding as to who the shield is targeted against”. Russian PM noted that there is still time to come to an agreement; however, if it is not done before 2018, a new arms race could begin.