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Home / International News / Pentagon to cut down EU-protected forest for air base in Poland

Pentagon to cut down EU-protected forest for air base in Poland

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The US military is reportedly seeking to expand its air force base at the expense of nature by cutting down a large swathe of green woodland in Poland, as part of a declared bid to reinforce the NATO alliance to counter an alleged “Russian threat.”

Russia’s RT news channel broke the news on Saturday, citing obtained US Army Corps of Engineers procurement documents that detailed the Pentagon’s plans to cut down 38.18 hectares of protected forest in order to build a stock and maintenance complex around the Powidz Air Base in central Poland.

The permit was granted by the Polish government in April, as the Russian news channel revealed, with Polish officials arguing that the military base expansion would allow the Pentagon to “improve security in Europe” and that the “the project is being implemented as part of Poland’s obligation resulting from its alliance” with the US.

The woodland is designated by the European Union as a site for the breeding and resting of “rare and threatened species.”

The targeted forest is part of the Gnieznienskie Lake District, which enjoys special protection within the 28-member.

All the tree-cutting must be completed by the end of February next year, according to RT.

Over 30 bird species that live in nests in tree hollows will be impacted by the decision. Before cutting the trees down, the birds will be scared away from their usual habitat until March 2019, when construction work is set to begin.

Poland has long hosted armed forces from the US and other members of the NATO military alliance on a rotational basis.

NATO severed ties with Moscow in 2014 following the reintegration of the Crimean Peninsula to Russia in a referendum. The US-led alliance has increasingly deployed forces and heavy military equipment to Russia’s Western borders ever since.

Russia says NATO’s military buildup near its borders poses a threat to both regional and international peace.

The US has defended the deployments as a bid to protect itself and its European allies from what it calls Russia’s “threats.” The US military buildup in Eastern Europe is, however, perceived as an effort to curb Russia’s influence.

Russia has accused Poland of opportunism by seeking a permanent NATO presence on its soil.

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