Dozens of elite US troops land in Poland
A plane carrying a few dozen elite U.S. troops arrived on Sunday in Poland near its border with Ukraine after President Biden ordered the deployment of troops to Eastern Europe amid mounting fears of a possible Russian invasion.
Hundreds more from the 82nd Airborne Division are expected to arrive at Rzeszow-Jasionka airport in the coming days, as the Pentagon has said about 1,700 troops will deploy to Poland, according to The Associated Press.
“Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe and, obviously, during this period of uncertainty, we know that we are stronger together,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, who is the troops’ commander and was the final American soldier to leave Afghanistan in August, the AP reported.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak added that “deterrence and solidarity are the best response to Moscow’s aggressive policy, to the aggressive attempt at reconstructing the Russian empire,” the wire service added.
The troops’ arrival in Poland came after Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said last week that the agency will deploy 2,000 troops from their station at Fort Bragg, N.C. to Germany and Poland “in the next few days.”
“I want to be very clear about something: These are not permanent moves,” Kirby said at the time.
“They are moves designed to respond to the current security environment. Moreover, these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are going to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies,” he added.
The decision to send troops comes as Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border despite denying any intention to invade Kyiv.