Who’s in Control?
It has been over a week since Warsaw hosted the NATO summit, however, regardless of how successfully the capital of Poland handled the challenge of preparing the event, comments and heated discussions about the nature of current Polish policy continue. Marcin Kierwański, PO (Civic Platform) MP, stated that as long as the Polish government avoids responsibilities for its actions, Poland will not be treated as a partner amongst other democratic countries. What is more, the MP believes that the fact that President Duda’s actions are constantly ‘supervised’ by the leader of PiS (Law and Justice) also affects the image and credibility of Poland. “The joint press conference with Barack Obama demonstrated that President Andrzej Duda is not able to free himself of Jarosław Kaczynski’s influence,” Kierwański continues. The MP reiterated that during the summit, the US President clearly stated that NATO is not just a military alliance, it is also a community with democratic values and Poland needs to share these values, which are the foundation of the organisation. “If Poland is to remain an example of democracy for the rest of the world, there is still more work to be done regarding the impasse surrounding the Polish Constitutional Tribunal,” Obama said. According to Kierwański, Duda is aware that the remarks made by Obama are ultimately true, but he is not able to free himself from Kaczyński. “After being lectured by President Obama, President Duda decided that it is better to remain silent and pretend that everything is fine,” the MP added.
Still Need Help
According to recent surveys, the majority of Poles are against providing military help to Ukraine. When the authorities of Ukraine asked for help with military training of their soldiers, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that the UK would send 75 qualified British soldiers who were supposed to develop the skills of Ukraine’s soldiers. The Polish authorities issued a similar declaration. Poland takes part in Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP). The purpose of the initiative is to help Ukraine achieve and increase certain military standards that are applied in NATO. Training courses will take place on Polish territory.
The Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has been commenting on Russian air force operations over Europe and he claims that NATO is watchful and is engaging in appropriate measures. “Yesterday’s news shows that NATO is alert, our system is working and we have noted the intensification of activities. NATO will ask Russia for explanations as they exceeded all accepted norms for military activity,” said the Minister. The head of the Defence Ministry (MON) was present at a conference organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the military hospital on Szaserów Street in Warsaw. Jay Jasen, spokesman for the alliance said that NATO aircraft were scrambled several times because of the unprecedented scale of Russian air force operations within European airspace. “Four air formations consisting of Tu-95 strategic bombers, MiG-31 fighters and other Russian military aircraft were active in airspace over the Baltic, the North Sea and the Black Sea as well as the Atlantic,” according to the spokesman. Russian units did not give their flight schedule nor did they make radio contact with civil air traffic authorities. NATO scrambled Norwegian, UK, Portuguese, German and Turkish aircraft. No accidents were recorded. Relations between NATO and Russia have been tense since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March. According to the alliance only last week Russian aerial reconnaissance aircraft encroached on NATO airspace over Latvia.
Orban and Tusk
The presidents of Poland and the USA have invited the leaders of Central and Eastern Europen states to a meeting that will be held in June when Poland will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its first post-war (partially) free elections. Jaromir Sokołowski, a mnister in the Presidential Office responsible for foreign affairs informed the public of the meeting. The presidents of the NATO states Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia all received invitations to the meeting. It will take place in Warsaw on 3 June and will focus on the Ukrainian crisis and Russian aggression towards Ukraine, security in the region, including energy security, as well as preparation for the upcoming NATO summit in Wales.
Get Newzar here for free
The US ambassador has stressed that the decision to deploy NATO military bases in Poland, which Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak asked about at the end of April in Washington, will probably be taken at the September NATO summit in Newport, Wales. “In fact, this matter will be essential not only for the United States, but also for the whole Alliance. I think that it will be an important topic of discussion during the September summit in the UK,” said the ambassador. He emphasised that in the meantime the United States of America will maintain the additional military forces that recently arrived in Poland for the next few months. “We are going to keep these additional forces in Poland at least until the end of the year and then, after the summit, we will see what the Alliance decides,” he said.
Get Newzar here for free
The NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft was recently seen over Jarocin, flying east. Information was received from internet user aras66 who also sent in some photos of the plane. Responding to the Ukraine crisis, NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last week that NATO has agreed a package of military measures in order to reinforce the defence of the eastern members of the alliance. “We have agreed upon a package of further military measures to reinforce our collective defence and demonstrate the strength of Allied solidarity,” Rasmussen told journalists, after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council. He reminded journalists that NATO has already taken a number of similar steps, including enhancing air policing in the Baltic States and AWACS surveillance flights over Poland and Romania. “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” he added. Rasmussen also said that there would be increased air sorties over the Baltic Sea, with additional ships both in the Baltic and the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere, should the need arise.
Get Newzar here for free!
Several F-16 fighter jets have arrived for training exercises at the Łask Tactical Air Base from the Aviano base in Italy, according to the US Embassy in Warsaw. The US has also announced that the remaining F-16 fighters will arrive by the end of the week. The Polish-American military exercises are a response to the crisis in Ukraine and are much more significant than originally planned. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel commented last week about increasing military support for NATO members, including Poland. “The first batch of F-16 jets have arrived at Łask Air Base in order to strengthen the American air subdivision. By the end of this week 12 aircrafts will arrive in Poland,” according to an official US Embassy communiqué. Polish TV (TVP) has shown images of F-16s landing at Łask. According to TVP, there were six American F-16s. “The intensification of training courses and exercises organised by the Air sub unit shows that the US is committed to the collective defence of its allies,” according to the press release
Get Newzar directly by email