President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that some U.S. troops moving out of Germany would be sent to Poland.
Trump offered his remarks on the U.S. troop movements to Poland during a Wednesday press conference with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.
During his remarks, Trump praised Poland as being one of eight NATO member nations other than the U.S. currently meeting its spending commitment to the military alliance. He describing other NATO members, including Germany, as “delinquent” on their commitments to the alliance.
Trump and Duda went on to discuss the U.S.-Polish partnership. As Trump and Duda concluded their prepared remarks, reporters asked Trump about a recent announcement that he would be reducing the number of U.S. troops in Germany and asked where those troops might be sent next.
“Poland is one of the few countries that are fulfilling their obligations under NATO, in particular, their monetary obligations and they asked us if we would send some additional troops,” Trump said.
“They are going to pay for that, they’ll be paying for the sending of additional troops and we will probably be moving them from Germany to Poland,” he added.
The number of U.S. troops in Germany is likely to drop from around 50,000 to around 25,000.
“Germany is paying a very small fraction of what they are supposed to be paying,” Trump said. “They should be paying two percent and they are paying a little bit more than one percent depending on how you calculate. You could also calculate that they are paying less than one percent. If you assume they are paying one percent, that’s a tremendous delinquency.”
Trump said some of the U.S. troop reduction from Germany would see those troops brought back to the U.S., while others would be sent to Poland and “other places in Europe.”
Trump was then asked what message a U.S. troop shift to Poland might send to Russia, to which he again criticized Germany.
“I think [sending U.S. troops to Poland] sends a very strong signal to Russia, but I think a stronger signal sent to Russia is the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars to purchase energy from Russia through the pipeline,” Trump said. “And I’m saying ‘what’s that all about? You’re sending billions of dollars to Russia and then we’re supposed to defend you from Russia.’ So I think it’s very bad. I think the people of Germany are very unhappy about it.”
Following Trump’s answer to the question, Duda also affirmed he made the request for some of the U.S. troops to be relocated from Germany to Poland, saying he saw the presence of U.S. troops in Europe as a key issue. Citing the example of the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, Duda said Poland has persistent concerns about Russia’s power in Europe and said more U.S. troops could help Poland’s forces to maintain their borders.
“Today the presence of NATO troops and first and foremost of U.S. troops in Poland demonstrates that article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is treated seriously,” Duda said.
Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty entails the “collective defense” of member allies, meaning all members of the alliance would respond to an attack on any one member nation.