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US troops enter Poland, at Russia's doorstep

US troops enter Poland, at Russia's doorstep

The tanks began to arrive on Wednesday.

The action is being cast by the administration of President Barack Obama as a reaction to Russia's military actions in Ukraine, including continuing combat in the east of Ukraine, and its annexation of the Crimea in 2014.

"This is the fulfilment of a dream", said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Warsaw.

Some people waved and held up American flags as US troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based.

"These forces will have a "trip wire" function - no longer will it be possible for Russian Federation to have a quick victory for example in the Baltic states on the cheap", Baranowski said.

"To move a brigade combat team here is a very visible, credible expression of our commitment to further ensuring the already strong deterrent capability resident in Eastern Europe and with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", he said.

For decades, Poland had asked for help in keeping Moscow at bay, but at the same time, President-elect Donald Trump has signaled he could try to pursue a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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According to Stanislaw Koziej, a retired Polish brigadier general who served as national security chief from 2010-15, the arrival of the U.S. brigade has "somewhat calmed concerns about the direction the U.S. will go after the arrival of the new president".

Worries about the permanence of the new US security commitments are rooted in a tragic national history in which Poland has often lost out in deals made by the great powers. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.

Last week some 2,500 items of military equipment arrived in Germany and have since been moved in transports across the continent. "This is even more pronounced when a third party (the United States) reinforces its military presence on our doorstep in Europe".

Alexei Mechkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, described the deployment as a "factor destabilising European security".

The US armoured brigade is also due to carry out military exercises in the Baltics.

Yet, while Russian Federation is criticizing the USA for putting a few thousand troops in Ukraine, it amassed more than 50,000 troops on the border of Ukraine in November 2016.


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