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US signs deal to place missile shield in Poland

US signs deal to place missile shield in Poland
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The US and Poland have signed a deal to locate part of a controversial missile defence system on Polish soil.

The US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski, signed the agreement in Warsaw.

Under the deal, which follows 18 months of negotiation, 10 interceptor missiles will be sited on a disused military base near the Baltic Sea coast.

The Polish President says the system is purely defensive.

Washington says it is to protect Europe and the US against missile attacks from “rogue elements” in the Middle East.

Poland has called for short-range Patriot missiles for its own air defences in exchange for the deal and a guarantee that the US will come to its assistance in the event of an attack.

“Poland and U.States intend to enhance their security through cooperation in the following areas: political and military cooperation, information sharing, defense industrial and research and technological operations.

But Russia is opposed to the deal, saying it will alter the military balance in Europe.

It has warned it will now be forced to redirect its missiles at Poland.

A survey at the beginning of the week showed around 50 percent of Poles now support installing the shield on their territory – a turnaround from past surveys.