Donald Trump has expressed interest in creating a permanent US military base in Poland after the country’s leader said he would cover $2 billion of the costs and name the facility “Fort Trump”.
The US president said in a White House press conference on Tuesday that he was considering the proposal because it would boost “military protection” and help bring down America’s defence costs.
The comment came after Andrzej Duda, the Polish president who appeared alongside Mr Trump to address the media, warned that Russia’s military build-up on Europe’s eastern border needed to be countered.
The plan was first pushed by the Polish government earlier this year. It is eager to have a permanent US military presence in its country to counter the Kremlin.
Mr Duda mentioned the proposal to Mr Trump in the Oval Office as the pair chatted in front of the cameras about Poland’s security.
“I hope that we will build Fort Trump in Poland together, Mr President,” Mr Duda said. Mr Trump responded by saying that the country’s security was “very important” to him.
In a press conference later on Tuesday, Mr Duda explained in more detail why he felt America’s permanent military presence was needed in Poland.
He said that Russia had been pursuing “very strong militarisation” in recent years and displaying “aggressive behaviours”.
Mr Duda said: “I am convinced that there is no more an effective method of preventing a war than a decisive stance demonstrating that we are ready at any moment to repel possible attack. "
He added: “When we have a strong military presence in this part of Europe, where there is a potential threat, there will be no war happening ever.”
Mr Trump confirmed that he was interested in the proposal when he spoke next, though the US president did not go as far as to fully endorse the plan.
“Poland would be paying the United States billions of dollars for a base. We are looking at that more and more from a standpoint of defending really wealthy countries and not being reimbursed," he said.
Mr Trump added: “The president offered us much more than $2 billion to do this and so we are looking at it from the stand point of number one military protection for both countries and also cost.”
The US president has long complained that allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [Nato] are not delivering on a pledge to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.
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