One of Ukraine’s key allies in NATO, Poland plans to place rocket launchers on its shared border with Russia.
“Until the end of 2023, the U.S. HIMARS rocket artillery systems will be at the disposal of the 16th mechanized division of the Polish army, which is deployed near the border with the Russia’s Kaliningrad region,” Blaszczak said Friday, noting the success of the system in Ukraine’s air defenses.
The news comes one day after Blaszczak announced that the U.S. Department of State had approved the sale of 800 Hellfire missiles for use on a number of support helicopters.
It also comes amid concerns that Russia could potentially escalate violence into NATO territory like Poland, which recently became the first member of NATO to provide Ukraine with offense-capable warplanes to offset Russia’s aerial assaults, along with tanks, drones and ammunition.
In February, former Russian President and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said the only way for Moscow to ensure enduring peace with Ukraine was to “push back” the borders of its allied countries as far as possible, even if it meant risking conflict with NATO members like Poland.
“That is why it is so important to achieve all the goals of the special military operation. To push back the borders that threaten our country as far as possible, even if they are the borders of Poland,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram at the time.
Russia, meanwhile, has begun to increase its own activity in Poland with the apparent intent to disrupt the country’s aid to Ukraine.
On Thursday, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Poland had charged six “foreigners from across the eastern border” over an alleged plot to disrupt military and aid supplies to Ukraine on Russia’s behalf. Last year, a Polish resident was accused of spying on NATO forces for the Russians.
“Evidence indicates that this group monitored railway lines. Their tasks included recognizing, monitoring and documenting weapons’ transports to Ukraine,” Kaminski said during a Thursday news conference. “The suspects were also preparing sabotage actions aimed at paralyzing the supply of equipment, weapons and aid to Ukraine.”
Newsweek has reached out to the U.S. Department of State for comment.