U.S. Needs to Triple Troops in Poland to Deter Putin: Ex-Polish Official

The United States needs to increase the number of troops it has placed in Poland to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russia's war against Ukraine, a Polish politician said.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Radek Sikorski, who is a member of the European Parliament and had previously served as Poland's foreign minister and defense minister, said that the U.S. should place at least 30,000 troops in his country as the military conflict continues in Ukraine.

Sikorski was asked by a BBC host during the interview if he believes "the weight has been placed much more heavily on sanctions and so on than on deterrence in the terms of the way Western countries have responded to Russia's actions?"

"We need to do both. The sanctions are tough and unprecedented," Sikorski responded. "But we should also rearm and strengthen the Eastern flank. Ukrainians have already destroyed more Russian tanks than either Germany or France or Britain have in their inventories. The West's disarmament has gone too far."

The BBC host then asked: "When President Biden does visit Poland, what would you want to say to him?"

"That because of Russia's turn, and unjustified attack on Ukraine, we need and the U.S. needs, the kind of presence in Poland that it used to have in Germany during the Cold War... We think 30,000 is the absolute minimum of what needs to be placed in Poland to deter Putin," Sikorski responded.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon told Newsweek Thursday morning that the U.S. currently has approximately 10,000 troops in Poland.

"That number fluctuates based upon requirements," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

On March 14, Stars and Stripes reported that more than half of the U.S. troops in Poland had been sent to that nation in the previous six weeks leading up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Needs to Triple Troops in Poland
A former Polish official said Wednesday that the U.S. should increase the number of troops it has placed in Poland to 30,000. Above, American soldiers prepare to depart Fort Campbell in Kentucky for Poland on February 16. Seth Herald

President Joe Biden is currently in Europe on a four-day trip that includes a stop in Poland. Biden, who arrived in Brussels on Wednesday, is expected to announce the new round of military aid and sanctions Thursday.

Days before Biden arrived in Europe, Russia issued a warning to Poland in a letter written by Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian security council. The letter came after Poland's prime minister moved to sever economic ties with Moscow following the Ukraine invasion.

"The interests of the citizens of Poland have been sacrificed due to Russophobia of 'mediocre politicians' and their 'puppeteers from across the ocean' with clear signs of senile insanity," Medvedev wrote in a post on Telegram.

Newsweek also reached out to the White House and Polish Armed Forces for comment but did not receive responses in time for publication on Thursday morning.