US Troops Arrive in Poland

On Saturday, the first US soldiers reinforcing NATO partners in Eastern Europe landed at an Army facility in southern Poland, amid Russia-Ukraine concerns.

It’s Not the Biggest Deployment

A light Beechcraft C-12 Huron carrying a few US personnel landed at Rzeszow military camp soon after 10 a.m. on Feb. 5, according to Polish military source Major Przemyslaw Lipczynski (PAP).

The deployments included a few supporting and command-level personnel, according to Lipczynski, who added a considerably larger group is anticipated to arrive on Sunday.

The second transport was supposed to arrive on Sunday evening, but Lipczynski said that plans were revised for unidentified reasons.

“We’re waiting for our allies to arrive,” Lipczynski told PAP, noting “our coordination is going quite well.”

A total of 1,700 US forces from the 82nd Airborne Division, headquartered in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are likely to be deployed in Poland, according to the spokesman.

He described the unit as an elite, quick-response force with which Polish troops had previously collaborated.

“We worked alongside them on operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” Lipczynski said, noting the troops also prepared together in actual war scenarios, such as Dragon and Anaconda.

He went on to say, “We can rely on and respect each other.”

The arrival of the US troops coincided with the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement that it dispatched two long-range, nuclear-capable aircraft to fly over Moscow’s neighbor Belarus, which shares borders with Poland.

“The long-range airplanes performed combined tasks with the Belarusian military forces’ air National Guard and air defense during their flight,” the government said, as per Russian official news agency TASS.

The Russian aircraft returned to their base in Russia following the patrol operation, which lasted almost four hours.

The Russian Military is Building

The patrol operation coincided with the Kremlin’s military buildup from Siberia and other distant parts of Russia toward Belarus for broad joint drills. This contributed to a major Russian military deployment near Ukraine that has fanned Nato’s fears of an attack.

Russia rejected any preparations to invade Ukraine. It has demanded a binding commitment from the US and its allies that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has campaigned for Ukraine’s membership in the defense pact.

The Kremlin also requested the US and its allies commit to not deploying advanced weaponry and that NATO troops in Eastern Europe be scaled back. Those requests have been rejected by both Washington, as well as NATO.

“From our point of view, NATO’s door is open, and that is our pledge,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in late January.

However, he repeated an offer of “mutually supportive” actions to resolve reciprocal security issues between Russia and NATO, such as missile cutbacks in Europe.