Russia has branded the deployment of U.S troops in Poland a threat to its national security. It is the largest deployment of American troops in Europe since the Cold War.
Officially, the deployment is intended to counter what it sees as Russian aggression in the region. The deployment is permanent.
Four thousand troops will eventually be stationed in Poland. So far a thousand have arrived. A formal ceremony to welcome them will be held on Saturday. In Poland. the troops have been well received by the people who waved flags and as American convoys crossed the German border and entered Poland.
However, the troop deployment has been met by alarm in Russia. Vladimir Putin said, “We perceive it as a threat. These actions threaten our interests, our security. Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It’s [the US], not even a European state.”
The deployments have been questioned by incoming president, Donald Trump. He has said he would rather work with the Russian president than confront him.
NATO officials have taken a different line, stating that they hoped Trump would not attempt to withdraw the troops after he is inaugurated.
Both of Trump’s choices for secretary of state and defence secretary backed NATO in their confirmation hearings.
In 2014 NATO was caught out by Russia when it annexed Crimea in 2014. It has not coped well with Russian tactics of cyber warfare, propaganda, and regular troops disguised as local rebels.
U.S and its allies have responded by flying air patrols and carrying out training exercises in eastern Europe. The current deployment of NATO troops was agreed at the last NATO summit.
Pentagon press spokesman, Peter Cook said, “The United States is demonstrating its continued commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure Nato allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.”
Poland is fearful that any deal Trump secures will be at Poland’s expense.