Poland spills beans on new US troop deployment
The US will deploy around 2,000 troops to Poland as part of measures to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank in response to potential Russian military moves toward Ukraine, the head of Warsaw's National Security Bureau revealed on Wednesday.
Speaking to Polskie Radio 24, the country’s national public-service broadcaster, Paweł Soloch announced that the American troops arriving in his country would be part of a more significant deployment of 8,500 soldiers being sent to Europe.
According to the Bureau head, the move’s aim is two-fold; to reinforce the bloc from a military standpoint, and, crucially, to strengthen and develop the mechanisms in place for the further transfer of troops in the future.
The reveal follows US President Joe Biden’s announcement last month that America had made plans to send soldiers to Eastern Europe, specifically to the countries in the Bucharest Nine, which includes Poland. The Bucharest Nine was founded in 2015, and is an organization made up of nations formerly part of the Warsaw Pact. The US announced that these troops would be mobilized and deployed to NATO’s eastern flank at European members’ request, or “in other situations,” which could potentially mean an incursion by Russia into Ukrainian territory.
The decision to send 2,000 soldiers to Poland comes as tensions remain high between Russia and NATO, as Moscow stands accused of placing over 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine. The buildup has triggered a response from multiple members of the military bloc, with many pledging to send weapons and financial aid. It also comes as officials from both Russia and the US-led military bloc sit around the negotiation table to discuss mutual security concerns.
In December, Russia sent Washington and Brussels a list of proposals for European security guarantees. These suggestions included an end of the eastwards expansion of NATO, most significantly into Ukraine, and the withdrawal of foreign forces from countries that were not NATO members prior to 1997. The bloc has called these demands to reduce its military presence “unacceptable.”
Last month, the US sent back a formal response to Russia’s demands, which is currently undergoing inspection by the Kremlin. While Washington has been open to agreements on arms control and boosting the transparency of troop movements, it has flatly rejected the suggestion to end the enlargement of NATO.
In response, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that this lack of agreement highlights an intrinsic difference in principles surrounding security between Brussels and Moscow, dubbing NATO’s plans for expansion “irresponsible.”
The decision to accept American soldiers is not the only agreement made by Poland with the West this month. On Tuesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal revealed that Kiev had agreed to form an anti-Russia security pact with Warsaw and London, with the stated aim of boosting cooperation in the region and deterring potential Moscow aggression.