The U.S. Army vehicles cross the Polish border in Olszyna, Poland, Thursday.
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
The Polish leaders have declared themselves no longer in a ceremony Saturday to welcome the arrival of AMERICAN troops as part of an implementation that is angry with Russia.
The presence of AMERICAN troops on Polish soil marks a historic moment, the first time that the Western forces are deployed on a continuous basis to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank.
“”We have been waiting for you for a long time,” the soldiers heard the Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz say on Saturday’s event in Zagan in the midst of falling snow. “We waited decades, sometimes have the feeling that we had been left alone, sometimes even losing hope sometimes the feeling that we were the only ones protected civilization of aggression which came from the east.”
The event also attracted hundreds of ordinary Poles.
The American implementation is equipped with an armored brigade of 3,500 U.s. troops, from Fort Carson, Colorado. It comes in the responses to the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the support of the separatist rebels in Ukraine’s east.
These actions are afraid to lot in Poland, the Baltic states and other countries in Eastern Europe that once under Moscow.
“This is America’s most capable fighting force of combat-ready, highly-trained US armoured brigade, with our most advanced equipment and weapons,” U.S. ambassador to Poland Paul James said during the ceremonies, according to an AFP report.
“This force embodies America’s ironclad commitment to honor our NATO treaty obligation to defend our NATO allies.”
The Polish government organized various other events around the country, including in the centre of Warsaw, welcome to the Americans.
“This is an important day for Poland, for Europe, for our common defence,” Minister-president Beata Szydlo told the AMERICAN soldiers.
The troops are due to fan out in seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria for the exercises. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany. After nine months they will be replaced by another unit.
NATO will also deploy four multinational battalions to the eastern flank later this year, one each to Poland and the Baltic states. The U.S. will also lead one of those battalions.
The Kremlin has denounced all of these implementations, they say considers them a threat to its own security and interests.
One of the newly arrived Americans M. P Peter Gomez told AFP he felt “very welcome”, as he posed for selfies with Polish citizens.
“I’m surprised actually,” he was quoted as saying. “People are very excited to see us.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.