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.
Lead nation: Britain
- 500 from Britain
- up to 200 from Denmark
- around 150 from France, for six months
Lead nation: Canada
- about 450 from Canada
Lead nation: Germany
- 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
Lead nation: United States
- 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.
In depth coverage
Participants in the two-day NATO summit meeting in Warsaw confirmed on Saturday that the alliance would continue performing its duties in the peace mission in Afghanistan after 2016, and Croatia will increase its contingent by some 20 more troops.
NATO leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday. Here are the main decisions reached and pledges made at the meeting.
NATO has taken over command and control from the United States of a missile shield being developed in Europe, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says, in a move excepted to contribute to tensions with Russia.
NATO leaders have approved the deployment of four battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says, as part of measures meant to counter the threat posed by Russia.
Croatia will contribute to NATO's presence in Eastern Europe most probably with one company that will be integrated in a German-Dutch contingent, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who is heading a state delegation attending a NATO summit in Warsaw, said on Friday.
NATO leaders were preparing Friday to clear the way for the military alliance to deploy more troops in Eastern Europe, while insisting that it is not gunning for conflict with Russia.
As relations between NATO and Russia continue to sour in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, some fear a new arms race between the two world powers, which are boosting their militaries, redeploying troops and expanding training manoeuvres.