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Poland shifting defense to eastern border

Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland – Poland is planning a major realignment of its military structure because of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, the country’s defense minister said Monday, a move that could shift thousands of troops to its eastern border.

“The geopolitical situation has changed. We have the biggest crisis of security since the Cold War and we must draw conclusions from that,” Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told the Associated Press.

Although Poland joined NATO in 1999, most of its 120,000-member army is based along the country’s western border, as a relic of its former status as a Soviet bloc member.

That is going to change, Siemoniak said, adding that at least three military bases in the east will increase from the current 30 percent of capacity to almost 90 percent by the end of 2017. That’s a potential increase of thousands of troops.

The announcement follows a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Estonia last month in which he urged NATO members to do more to assist Ukraine.

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