Poland: US to ac­cel­er­ate troop de­ploy­ment to Baltics

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United States has de­cided to ac­cel­er­ate the de­ploy­ment of troops to Poland, the Baltic states and Ro­ma­nia as part of rais­ing the se­cu­rity of the re­gion, Pol­ish and US de­fense of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Pol­ish De­fense Min­is­ter An­toni Macierewicz made the an­nounce­ment fol­low­ing talks with the com­man­der of US land troops in Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, in Za­gan, west­ern Poland, where some of the troops will be de­ployed. It will be an Ar­mored Bri­gade Com­bat Team from Fort Car­son, Colorado. An­other US force, a bat­tal­ion, will be de­ployed April 1 to Orzysz, in the north­east.

Hodges said the troops will ar­rive in the Ger­man port of Bre­mer­haven on Jan. 6 and will be im­me­di­ately de­ployed to Poland, the Baltic states and Ro­ma­nia. Their trans­fer will be timed and treated as a test of “how fast the force can move from port to field,” he said. “I’m con­fi­dent in the very powerful sig­nal, the mes­sage it will send (that) the United States, along with the rest of NATO, is com­mit­ted to de­ter­rence,” Hodges said.

He said the ar­mored bri­gade has al­ready moved out of its Colorado base and is load­ing on ships. “I’m ex­cited about what my coun­try is do­ing and I’m ex­cited about con­tin­u­ing to work with our ally, Poland,” Hodges said.

Poland and the Baltic na­tions of Lithua­nia, Latvia and Es­to­nia have been un­easy about in­creased Russian military oper­a­tions in the re­gion, es­pe­cially af­ter its 2014 an­nex­a­tion of Crimea from Ukraine, and have re­quested US and NATO troops’ pres­ence on their ter­ri­tory as a de­ter­rent. The al­liance and the US in­sist the troop pres­ence is not aimed against any­one, but Rus­sia has threat­ened mea­sures in re­sponse.

The US troops had pre­vi­ously been ex­pected in mid- or late Jan­uary. “I am very happy that a de­ci­sion has been taken by the US side for an ear­lier de­ploy­ment,” Macierewicz said. — AP

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