By Michael Hernandez
U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is considering the establishment of a permanent military base in Poland after Warsaw offered to give Washington more than $2 billion to set up the facility.
"Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland. If they’re willing to do that, it’s something we will certainly talk about," Trump said before sitting down with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, for bilateral talks at the White House.
NATO ally Poland has sought a permanent U.S. military base on its territory for more than two decades, mostly over concerns about Russia.
Duda said the base he is proposing would be named "Fort Trump," and said he firmly believes it is possible. "I am convinced that such a decision lies both in the Polish interest as well as in the interest of the United States."
"Poland is an attractive country. And first and foremost, it's got a very important strategic location in Europe. And I'm convinced that for the interests of the United States, also pertaining to the security of the United States itself, the presence of the U.S. forces in our country is important," Duda said during a joint news conference with Trump.
"The presence of the U.S. armed forces in this area is absolutely justified," added Duda.
Concerns in eastern Europe about Russia have been heightened since Moscow invaded and later annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. And Moscow continues to prop up separatists in the east of the country.
Addressing the strategic importance of the potential military base vis-a-via Russia, Trump said Moscow has "acted aggressively."
"They respect force, they respect strength, as anyone does," he said, before touting increased U.S. defense spending under his presidency.
"We have enhanced, to put it mildly, our military," he said.