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PRESS RELEASE


U.S. Troops Arrive in Poland for NATO Battalion

April 14, 2017 (EIRNS)—Nine hundred U.S. troops which will form the corps of the NATO battalion to be stationed in Poland, were welcomed to their base in Orzysz, about 57 kilometers south of Kaliningrad, yesterday. They are being joined by 150 British troops and 120 Romanians.

"Deploying of these troops to Poland is a clear demonstration of NATO’s unity and resolve, and sends a clear message to any potential aggressor,"

NATO Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti declared at the welcoming ceremony.

For the Poles, at least for the leadership of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), this is the fulfillment of a promise made but not kept in 1939, and it came on the day commemorating the Katyn Forest massacre and other massacres of Poles in 1940 by the Soviets.

"The Polish army was not able to face two enemies, because allies did not help," Polish president Andrzej Duda said.

"The presence of general [Scaparrotti] and U.S. forces, the world’s largest army..., in our country today, is a vocal testimony that the world is changing, and this has created a strong chance that the dramas of our past, such as those of 1939 and 1940, will never be repeated."

Reuters notes, however, that even as the NATO battalion is setting up, there’s concern in NATO about the Polish army under the current government. Nearly 30 of its top generals and more than 200 colonels—a quarter and a sixth, respectively, of the army’s total—have resigned over the last year, citing, in part, disagreements with the russophobic Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz over personnel and other decisions. NATO has refused to comment, but Daniel Keohane, a senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the ETH university in Zurich, said Poland’s relations within the alliance could suffer.

"While this should not in principle weaken Poland’s position within NATO, if these generals are resigning for political reasons, and a perception of an ongoing politicization of the Polish army emerges, this could cause worry in other NATO capitals,"

he said.