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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

NATO ally places HIMARS right on Putin’s doorstep

One of Ukraine’s main allies in NATO plans to place rocket launchers on the common border with Russia.

On Thursday, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his country intends to place a series of HIMARS missile launchers on Russia’s border. Blaszczak said the battery was acquired in 2019, and the announcement follows Congress’ approval of 500 HIMARS charging modules for Ukraine’s defense.

“By the end of 2023, the US HIMARS missile artillery systems will be available to the 16th Mechanized Division of the Polish Army, stationed near the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast,” Blaszczak said on Friday, referring to the systems’ success in air defense Ukraine.

The news comes a day after Blaszczak announced that the US State Department had approved the sale of 800 Hellfire missiles for use in a number of support helicopters.

There are also concerns that Russia could potentially escalate violence on NATO territory such as Poland, which recently became the first NATO member to provide Ukraine with attack-capable warplanes to offset Russia’s airstrikes, along with tanks, drones and ammunition.

In February, former Russian President and Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said the only way for Moscow to ensure a lasting peace with Ukraine is to “push back” the borders of its allied countries as much as possible, even if it does this means the risk of a conflict with NATO members like Poland.

“That is why it is so important to achieve all the goals of the military special operation. Push back as much as possible the borders that threaten our country, even if they are the borders of Poland,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram at the time.

Russia, meanwhile, has begun to ramp up its own operations in Poland, with apparent intent to disrupt the country’s aid to Ukraine.

On Thursday, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Poland had charged six “foreigners from across the eastern border” with an alleged conspiracy to disrupt military and aid supplies to Ukraine on behalf of Russia. Last year, a Polish resident was accused of spying on NATO forces for the Russians.

“There is evidence that this group monitored railway lines. Their duties included detecting, monitoring and documenting arms shipments to Ukraine,” Kaminski said during a press conference on Thursday. “The suspects were also preparing sabotage actions aimed at crippling supplies of equipment, weapons and aid to Ukraine.”

news week has asked the US State Department for comment.

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