Results of Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington: reaction in Poland and in Russia

Trump and Poland’s President Duda on the relationship

How will the acquisition of new American fighters affect the combat capability of the Polish Army? Polish and Russian experts reflect

During the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, he and US President Donald Trump signed a Declaration on Defense Cooperation in the Field of the Presence of the US Armed Forces in Poland.

This document provides, in particular, an increase in the American military contingent in the Republic of Poland, as well as the creation of additional American military infrastructure in this country..

And at the beginning of the week, the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Poland, Mariusz Blaszak, began a visit to the United States. In particular, he visited the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where he got acquainted with the fifth-generation F-35 multipurpose fighter-bombers (Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II). Blaszak then accompanied Andrzej Duda during his visit to the White House.

By the way, at the end of May, Mariusz Blaszczak said that the Polish government had sent an official request to the US government to purchase 32 F-35 fighters for the Polish Air Force, including training and technical support packages. The cost of each such aircraft exceeds $ 90 million.

“We have a lot of outdated Soviet fighters in service.”

Polish Foreign Policy Observer Vitold Yurash (Witold Jurasz) believes that the acquisition of thirty-two American F-35 fighters has more symbolic than military significance for the Polish army. “If we consider the military potential of Russia, then the number of fighters it has is much higher, and Russia can hardly be afraid of 32 modern fighters. From our point of view, since we have only forty-eight F-16s, plus about thirty of the order of the outdated MiG-29s, this is an increase in the potential of our military aviation. But, in any case, our military aviation will not be able to attack, this purchase is defensive in nature, “- the Polish expert emphasizes in an interview with the correspondent of the Russian service” Voice of America “.

In turn, the editor of the portal Machei Zanevich (Maciej Zaniewicz) believes that the purchase of American fighters has a practical component for Poland. “We have a lot of outdated Soviet fighters in service that need to be replaced. And this is done by all countries in the region, including Hungary, which treats Russia rather positively. And, of course, this will increase the defense capability of Poland, “Zanevich said..

The interlocutor of the Voice of America added that the infrastructure serving the army will also be updated. “And thirdly, an advanced divisional headquarters will be created in Poznan. Until now, it was believed that NATO’s defensive plans are such that the Alliance will defend itself already on German territory. But now the meaning of the policy pursued by our state is for NATO troops to fight for the security and independence of Poland in the event of an attack on it, “he stressed..

“Reach the level of the armies of the US, Israel and France”

As a result of negotiations between Donald Trump and Andrzej Duda, it was reported that the United States plans to additionally send about a thousand of its military personnel to Poland..

Independent Russian military observer Pavel Felgenhauer admits that in the long term, the increase in the number of American troops in Poland may have consequences on the western border of Russia. “The Russian military grouping in the Kaliningrad region is quite powerful, but in negotiations with Belarus one might hear the idea that a larger grouping should be created on the Belarusian-Polish border. Previously, there was no special concentration of Russian troops, but here, too, the Polish Army increased its combat capabilities, and there is a certain concentration of forces on the Bug, which has practically never existed since 1941, “Pavel Felgenhauer argues..

By the way, after reports that Poland intends to purchase American F-35 fighters from the United States, the Russian press quoted the former Polish Ambassador to the United States Ryszard Schnepf saying that Russian Su-57 aircraft should be bought, which are “twice as good cheaper “.

“The Poles want to get more modern aircraft,” Pavel Felgenhauer began his commentary on this topic. “They hope that if Turkey does not receive the F-35s it has ordered, then these aircraft can be sent to Poland, which has long wanted to receive them. And in this case, she will receive them sooner and possibly more..

And as for the fact that the Su-57 aircraft are cheaper, this is not true. They cost the same, if not more, than the F-35, and at the same time, of course, these are aircraft of a different generation, which are inferior to the American in almost all respects..

In general, the Poles intend to create a fairly modern armed forces. And they want, if possible, to reach the level of the armies of the United States, Israel and France. In any case, they are trying, ”concludes Pavel Felgenhauer.

“Even liberal newspapers are positive about the meeting between Duda and Trump”

On the whole, according to the experts interviewed by the Russian service of the Voice of America, the results of Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington were highly appreciated by the Polish society..

“The United States is considered the main guarantor of Poland’s security due to the increase in threats from the East. Of course, first of all, I mean the war in Donbass and the annexation of Crimea. Russia is considered the main threat to the region, and from this point of view, the United States is considered Poland’s main ally within NATO, ”said Maciej Zanevich.

Witold Jurash adds: “We have a very strong internal political conflict in Poland, a very tense struggle between parties. Despite this, there is a kind of compromise on the topic of military security and cooperation with America. And most politicians, except for extreme forces, are in favor of strengthening the American military presence in Poland. “.

Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University, a specialist in Poland, shared his observations with the correspondent of the Russian Service of the Voice of America Igor Gretsky. He is currently on a business trip in Warsaw, where he works as a fellow of the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Accord..

“Even liberal newspapers here are very positive about the outcome of the meeting between Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump. Since Poland, firstly, has made a very big step in terms of modernizing its armed forces, and secondly, it is doing everything to further guarantee its security and inviolability of its borders, ”says Igor Gretsky.

According to the Russian expert, his Warsaw colleagues drew attention to the words of the American president during a joint press conference that he hopes that Russia will treat Poland with respect. At the same time, Duda made it clear that it is precisely Moscow’s aggressive actions against its neighbors that cause the greatest concern in Poland. “Also, in various discussions, Trump’s phrase that there are no problems with democracy in Poland is often mentioned here. Against the background of the conflict between Brussels and Warsaw over the independence of the judiciary, this is regarded as a kind of indulgence from Washington, “the source said..

Results of Andrzej Duda's visit to Washington: reaction in Poland and in Russia

Igor Gretsky suggested that this phrase could have been said in order to gain additional support from the rather large Polish diaspora in the United States: “Trump was the first American president to meet with representatives of this diaspora. American Poles are a very conservative electorate, immigrants from Poland mostly voted for Donald Trump in the previous elections, and in turn, yesterday Trump emphasized the contribution of Poles to the development of America, which is also very important “.

“Russia has no other levers of influence besides the special services”

The Russian media reacted to Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington with the usual skepticism mixed with irritation.

Witold Yurash believes that the Kremlin’s policy towards Poland is deeply flawed: “They have relied on those forces that oppose the strengthening of American influence. But these forces are so extreme that few support them. The Russian position can be understood, but just as Russia itself did not pass by our relations with the United States, so we did not pass by the war in Ukraine. If this war had not happened, there would have been no American military presence in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, ”Vitold Yurash is convinced..

A Polish foreign policy observer adds that Russia has no legal leverage to change Polish-American relations. “Perhaps they know more at the Lubyanka, but Russia has no other levers to influence Poland and America, except for those that may be through the special services,” he said..

According to Igor Gretsky, there is nothing new in the negative comments of the Russian press about Polish-American cooperation. “When something happens along the line of contacts between Warsaw and Washington, Moscow’s reaction is always negative. And here, in my opinion, it is not words that are important, but actions..

We in Russia do not have an understanding that the strengthening of cooperation between Poland and the United States within the framework of NATO was caused by the actions of Russia itself in 2014. Russian commentators are looking at the same Trump-Duda summit outside of this context. But he is, and he was reflected at a press conference during a question to Andrzej Duda, how he perceives Russia.

Experts and analysts in Poland take into account Russia’s actions towards its neighbors – Ukraine and Georgia, cyberattacks against Estonia, very complicated relations with Lithuania. And now, recently an article appeared in the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, the author of which writes that Poland made a very big step towards preventing the situation on September 17, 1939 (when the Soviet Union attacked Poland after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – A.P.). Maybe it sounds too pathetic, but this context cannot be ignored. And we do it all the time, and, in my opinion, this is a mistake, “- Igor Gretskiy concludes..

Results of Andrzej Duda's visit to Washington: reaction in Poland and in Russia

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