Polish president urges NATO to bolster its eastern flank
Call made in Estonia on anniversary of secret 1939 Soviet-Nazi pact that divided Eastern Europe
Poland's new president called on Sunday for NATO to move troops to its eastern flank, bringing a message of solidarity to Estonia and other Baltic states nervous about Russian ambitions.
Andrzej Duda's message, made in Tallinn, Estonia, during his first trip abroad, was underlined not only by his words, but also by the fact that he timed his visit to Estonia to fall on European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
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The day marks the anniversary of the secret 1939 Soviet-Nazi pact that divided much of Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
At a news conference alongside Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Duda spoke of the "resurgent imperial tendencies" in the region and said that since the world is changing, NATO should as well.
Earlier, in his first speech after becoming president on May 24, Duda, 43, said on Aug. 6 he was especially concerned about the nation's security in the face of a resurgent Russia.
"We need a greater presence of NATO in this part of Europe," Duda said.
He vowed to press for more NATO security guarantees at next year's NATO summit in Warsaw. He called his program Newport Plus, in reference to a summit in Wales last year that decided on a rapid reaction force in the region, which is still being formed. Duda insists that is not enough.