A new US led force of more than 1,100 soldiers are to be deployed in Poland from April in what is being called a “deterrent” to Russian aggression.
According to a US military commander the move comes as NATO sets up a new force in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Over 900 American soldiers, 150 British personnel and around 120 Romanian troops will make up the battalion in northeast Poland, one of four multinational formations across the Baltic region.Russia has called this an aggressive strategy on its borders.
Leading the battlegroup is U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Steven Gventer who told a news conference: “This is a mission, not a cycle of training events, the purpose is to deter aggression in the Baltics and in Poland … We are fully ready to be lethal.”
Yahoo News reports:
Britain, Canada and Germany are leading the other three battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are due to be operational by June. They will have support from a series of NATO nations including France.
In total, some 4,000 NATO troops – equipped with tanks, armored vehicles, air support and hi-tech mission information rooms – will monitor for and defend against any potential Russian incursions.
Moscow, which denies having any expansionist or aggressive agenda, accuses NATO of trying to destabilize central Europe and has respond by forming four new military divisions to strengthen its western and central regions and stepping up exercises.
Seeking to avoid stationing troops permanently on Russia’s borders, the new NATO force across the Baltics and Poland can rely on a network of eight small NATO outposts in the region, regular training exercises and, in the case of attack, a much larger force of 40,000 alliance troops.
“We are not the entirety of NATO’s response,” said U.S. Army Major Paul Rothlisberger, part of the U.S.-led battalion to be based in Orzysz, 220 kilometers (137 miles) northeast of Warsaw.
The alliance is seeking to show the ex-Soviet countries in NATO that they are protected from the kind of annexation Russia orchestrated in February in 2014 in Ukraine’s Crimea.