US to deploy some 1,000 soldiers to Poland as part of NATO response

The United States plans to deploy around 1,000 soldiers to Poland as part of an effort to step up NATO's presence in Eastern Europe, President Barack Obama says.

"I can announce that the US will be the lead nation for the NATO presence here in Poland," he says after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, ahead of a summit of the military alliance's leaders.

"That means the US will deploy a battalion, roughly 1,000 American soldiers, here in Poland on a rotational basis to serve shoulder to shoulder with Polish soldiers," he adds.

The US also plans to headquarter in Poland one of its armored brigades, which is rotating through Europe, Obama says.

Update: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 19:02

NATO's new troop deployments to Eastern Europe

NATO leaders on Friday cleared the way for the deployment next year of four battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which feel threatened by Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The multinational battalions, which are expected to number up to 1,000 troops each, will be deployed on a rotational basis.

Details still have to be finalized, but here is some information on which countries plan to contribute troops where, based on initial announcements and media reports.

ESTONIA

Lead nation: Britain

Troop contributions:

- 500 from Britain

- up to 200 from Denmark

- around 150 from France, for six months

LATVIA

Lead nation: Canada

Troop contributions:

- about 450 from Canada

LITHUANIA

Lead nation: Germany

Troop contributions:

- about 500 from Germany

- about 200 from Belgium

- 100 to 150 from the Netherlands

- around 150 from France, for six months

- Luxembourg and Norway are also expected to send soldiers

POLAND

Lead nation: United States

Troop contributions:

- about 1,000 from the United States

- about 150 from Britain

Update: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 21:02 

Moscow has repeatedly warned that the eastward NATO expansion is threatening its national security. 

The Kremlin on Friday slammed the Western military alliance for being short-sighted and having a misguided focus on threats from Russia.

"If they need to ... stir up anti-Russian hysteria and Russophobia, then based on that emotion-evoking backdrop deploy air and ground forces close to Russia's borders, it is unlikely that we can find some reason for collaboration," the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency.

Some Russian officials have threatened a military response, but Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski dismissed as "absurd" suggestions that NATO has been acting threateningly.

"It's Russia that is pursuing the whole time an imperial policy," he said.

Moscow is also likely to be irritated by progress made on NATO's missile defence system in Europe. The alliance officially took over command and control of the shield from the United States at the Warsaw summit.

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