U.S. and Polish troops practice ahead of Mike Pompeo's visit to Warsaw
Polish Defence Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, has attended a military training of U.S. and Polish soldiers in the northwest of Poland, ahead of the planned visit of the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. The latter is expected to visit Warsaw on Saturday (August 15) to sign a defence cooperation deal with Poland. On Wednesday, however, Pompeo visited Prague where he met with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and and Czech President Milos Zeman.
Pompeo is scheduled to visit Warsaw at the end of his Central European trip on Saturday (August 15), to sign the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.
The military training is a part of the second phase of Defender Europe 20 exercises, originally billed as NATO's biggest war games in Europe since the Cold War but scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Polish government cares about the safety of our nation, we care about our Polish soldiers and we want them to expand their skills so that both Poland and NATO countries stay safe," said Błaszczak.
The agreement expected to be signed during Pompeo's visit on Saturday will establish a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland and deploy around 1,000 additional U.S. troops there.
Poland currently hosts a rotating contingent of over 4,000 U.S. troops.
Pompeo in Prague
During his visit to Prague on Wednesday, a part of his four-day trip to central European countries, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on multiple occasions that Belarus's election was "not free and fair" and condemned "ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters."
In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Pompeo said the U.S. will work with other European countries to find "measures that would deliver good outcomes for the Belarusian people."
"Whether that turns out to be sanctions or turns out to be making decisions about product deliveries, those are all things that are yet to be determined," Pompeo added.
Belarus is looking to reduce its near complete energy dependence on its close ally Russia, after a row with Moscow this year over the price it pays for Russian oil.
The dispute ended, but Belarus said it wanted to stand up against Russia's dominance of its market and diversify its oil imports.
The eastern European country imports seaborne crude oil cargoes via the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania from various countries including Norway, Saudi Arabia and recently the United States.
Belarus' purchase of 80,000 tonnes of U.S. Bakken oil imported in June is yet another trial to stand up to Russia, traders said, and it was unlikely such shipments will become regular.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters