U.S. Patriot missiles arriving in Poland in coming days: defense minister

11:03, May 22, 2010      

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A battery of U.S. Patriot missiles will arrive in Poland in the next few days, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich announced on Friday.

"All was ready for the missiles," Klich was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency.

Klich said the Patriots will arrive in Poland on May 24 and will be stationed in Morag in the northern lake district of Masuria, some 60 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

In February, Poland ratified the so-called SOFA deal on the stationing on its soil of U.S. troops who will crew the surface-to- air Patriot battery. They are also due to train Polish soldiers to use the system.

Poland has repeatedly insisted that the base close to Russia's Kaliningrad was not chosen for political or strategic reasons, but simply because it already had good infrastructure.

The Patriots together with about 100 U.S. military personnel will be stationed in Poland under the Obama administration's new missile defense plan, which replaced an earlier strategy foreseeing the installation of a U.S. missile interception system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Patriot missiles will help strengthen Polish air defense which was a condition of Poland's participation in the U.S. anti- missile shield project.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said last month that Russia is concerned about the U.S. "anti-missile activity" in the Polish territory and the planned deployment of the Patriot anti- aircraft missiles there.

"The U.S. anti-missile activity in Poland is unjustified and causes our concern," said the spokesman.

Source: Xinhua


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