- Google News (AFP) -
WARSAW — The United States aims to establish missile bases in Poland, after having scrapped plans fiercely opposed by Russia to deploy a missile shield in the country, a Polish newspaper reported Friday.
Citing Polish diplomatic sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Gazeta Wyborcza said Washington aimed to set up a permanent short- and medium-range missile base as well as deploy mobile missile batteries.
The plan is set to take shape within days, said Gazeta Wyborcza, a leading daily that is considered well informed on the issue.
It said Andrzej Kremer, Poland's deputy foreign minister, was due to travel to Washington on Monday.
No comment was available Friday from Poland's foreign ministry.
On September 17, US President Barack Obama decided to halt a drive launched by the previous administration of George W. Bush to deploy by 2013 missile interceptors in Poland and a powerful tracking radar in the neighbouring Czech Republic.
Washington had said the plan aimed to ward off threats from Iran, but Russia blasted it as a menace to its security on its doorstep. Warsaw and Prague broke from the crumbling communist bloc in 1989 and joined NATO in 1999.
Obama announced that he had decided to replace the shield with a more mobile system using mainly sea-based missile interceptors.
In turn, Russia decided to freeze a move to deploy short-range missiles in its Kaliningrad territory, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Last week, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington was still aiming to deploy missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2015, even though Iran's long-range missile programme remained further off than previously thought.
According to Gazeta Wyborcza, Washington's permanent Polish base is due to be established at Redzikowo, near the Baltic coast. That had been the planned location for the missile interceptors.