WARSAW, Poland (AP) —

Poland’s defense minister on Wednesday signed a deal to buy a second batch of U.S Abrams main battle tanks as Warsaw beefs up its defensive capabilities and strengthens military cooperation with Washington in light of Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine.

Officials said Poland is the first U.S. ally in Europe to be receiving Abrams tanks.

Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed the $1.4 billion deal at a military base in Wesola, near Warsaw. The agreement foresees the delivery of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks with related equipment and logistics starting this year.

Attending the signing ceremony were U.S. deputy chief of mission in Poland Daniel Lawton and U.S. Brig. Gen. John Lubas, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division, elements of which are stationed in southeastern Poland close to the border with Ukraine.

The deal follows last year’s agreement for the acquisition of 250 upgraded M1A2 Abrams tanks that will be delivered in 2025-26. Poland is also awaiting delivery of U.S. HIMARS artillery systems and has already received Patriot missile batteries.

Speaking in Wesola, Polish and U.S. officials said the deals strengthen Poland, the region and NATO’s eastern flank as the war in Ukraine continues.

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