Polish president to kick-start NATO boosting campaign in Estonia visit (3)
A source told Reuters that Poland's President Andrzej Duda will visit Estonia at the end of the week to launch a campaign aiming to increase NATO's presence in Poland and the Baltics.
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has now confirmed the visit. "This is President Duda's first foreign trip and the fact that it is to Estonia, shows the great extent of the relationship between Poland and Estonia," he said today.
Poland and the three Baltic states have petitioned NATO for permanent troops ever since the events in Ukraine turned into a military conflict. So far, they have seen the quadrupling of the Baltic air policing mission, which is likely to be halved soon, and US troops stationed in each country on a temporary basis, as well as increased number of joint military exercises.
Until now, some NATO members, such as Germany, have preferred temporary measures, instead of permanent troops, fearing reprisals from Russia.
Duda, who only took office on August 6, is making his first foreign trip to Estonia as a mark of solidarity, Reuters reported.
"Because of its size and economic and military potential, Poland wants to take upon itself to build a unified front in the region, for example with regards to NATO armies' permanent presence, and the visit marks the beginning of this process," the source said.
The visit is likely to take place on August 23, the anniversary of the singing of the Molotov-Rippentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which divided up much of Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Finland up as spheres of influence between the two nations.