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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Polish Leader Under Fire for U.S. Remarks

WARSAW -- President Lech Kaczynski faced domestic criticism Wednesday for signaling to the United States that Warsaw wants to host a missile defense base even before official negotiations are over and without agreement from the Polish parliament.

Even as the president wrapped up his U.S. visit with a tour of a missile defense system at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, criticism mounted at home over his comments in Washington that it is "largely a foregone conclusion" that Poland will agree to host a similar base.

The plan has sparked Russian outrage and threats of a new arms race.

Some opposition politicians and commentators say Kaczynski weakened Poland's bargaining position with the United States by practically agreeing to the deal before negotiations had run their course and without first putting it up for debate to the Polish public or parliament.

"The president made a colossal mistake," commentator Bartosz Weglarczyk wrote in Wednesday's edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, a regular critic of the president and the government of his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. "I think the decision slipped out of him by accident."

Some observers speculated that Kaczynski's words of support for the missile defense system might be a sign that U.S. President George W. Bush promised Poland missiles during their meeting at the White House on Monday. The daily Dziennik criticized Kaczynski for seemingly deciding a matter of strategic national importance on foreign soil.