Poland's defense minister tells The Associated Press that the country will move thousands of troops toward its eastern borders in a historic realignment of a military structure built in the Cold War.

Tomasz Siemoniak says the troops are needed in the east because of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

He said Monday that at least three military bases in the east will see their populations increase from the current 30 percent of capacity to almost 90 percent by 2017, and that more military hardware will be moved to those bases as well.

Currently, most of Poland's 120,000-member army is based along the country's western border, as a relic of its former status as a Soviet Bloc member.