Monday, February 22, 2010

Poland to host US missiles by 'early April'

Source: PressTV

After months of speculation, Poland is finally set to host controversial US Patriot missiles and a contingent of American troops to man them by April.

"The Defense Ministry expects the first stage of the stationing of a Patriot battery and a 100-man service team to get under way in the (northern) town of Morag at the turn of April," PAP news agency reported on Sunday.

The Patriots are part of a new US decision to deploy a missile system in central Europe.

Bulgaria and Romania are also in talks with the White House on hosting elements of its missile system on their soil.

The new deal was set up after Washington scrapped an earlier plan agreed upon in 2008 for deploying radar and interceptor missiles in Poland and the neighboring Czech Republic.

The new plan, like the Bush-era deal, has been vehemently opposed by Russia, which considers both threats to its national security.

In return Moscow has warned that it would beef up its naval base across the border from Poland in its Baltic enclave Kaliningrad.

It has also threatened to deploy the tactical Iskander missile system in the Black Sea region.

The Iskander missile system is equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with "quasi-ballistic" capability. The missiles have a range of 400 km (250 miles) and can reportedly carry conventional and nuclear warheads.

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