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World US troops in Poland reassure NATO's Baltic States as Russia looms

13:40  01 october  2020
13:40  01 october  2020 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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WARSAW (Reuters) - NATO leaders agreed on Friday to deploy military forces to the Baltic states and eastern Poland for the first time and increase air and sea patrols to reassure allies who were once part of the Soviet bloc following Russia ’ s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. The 28-nation Western defense

Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) is a NATO -allied forward deployed defense and deterrence military posture in Central Europe through Poland and Northern Europe through Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

SIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania The U.S. decision to base an additional 1,000 troops in Poland is a boon for the tiny Baltic states whose NATO defense is insecure in the face of Russian aggression.

a man wearing a uniform © Provided by Washington Examiner

But even those troops could be easily cut off from reinforcing the Baltics, according to partner nations in the region.

“We very much like the support, the agreement between the United States and Poland,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis told the Washington Examiner at a meeting in Vilnius, underscoring the command and control elements to be added.

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Russia says it views the arrival of more than 3,000 US soldiers in Poland as a threat to its own security. The troops are part of President Barack Obama' s response to reassure Nato allies The US Armoured Brigade will also carry out military exercises in the Baltics , all part of President Obama' s

The recent decision by NATO to send four armed battalions to the Baltic States and Poland as a preemptive move against Participants of the NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015, which are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies Beyond NATO ’ s decision to send troops to Russia ’s borders.

“We understand this is not only for Poland, but it’s also about the Baltic countries,” he said. “The Baltic countries and Poland are treated as one region from a defense point.”

The decision to add 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland was part of two defense agreements reached between President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda in the past two years. Poland already hosts 4,500 U.S. troops and is making infrastructure improvements that would provide a missile-defense position and stationing of the Army’s newly reestablished V Corps.

Polish General Staff Air Force Lieut. Col. Tomas Pietrus told the Washington Examiner that the positioning of troops in Poland is a deterrence to Russia in the east.

“If something is coming from the east, let’s say,” he said on the sidelines of the Tobruq Legacy air defense exercises at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania. “We are on the eastern front of NATO. So, we need to be able to operate, to defend ourselves firstly, then the coalition.”

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The United States has been playing a leading role in the process of strengthening NATO ’ s presence in the Baltic states . As far as the Western European Because of US budgetary constraints and the US administration’s reluctance to excessively escalate tensions with Russia (as clearly visible in its rather

How did the Baltic States ’ accession to NATO affect Russia ? How should Russia and NATO tailor their dialogue on European missile defense? Furthermore, the transit of military cargo was used repeatedly during periods of worsened relations with Russia as a means of exerting pressure on it.

A major challenge, however, is the tiny land bridge known as the Suwalki Gap that connects Poland to Lithuania and that many defense experts say can be easily cut off by Russia in the event of a conflict.

“This is a challenge for everybody,” Pietrus admitted of the 65-mile land bridge between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus.

“We had a really challenging scenario for us this year,” he said of a Tobruq air defense exercise to reinforce the Baltic states in the event Suwalki was closed. “I cannot tell you more, but it was really challenging for us.”

Security analyst Piotr Szymanski of the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies told the Washington Examiner that currently, NATO tries to assure the Baltic allies with Enhanced Forward Presence, multinational battle groups that integrate with local armies in the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

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Polish authorities and ordinary Poles welcomed Saturday US troops who arrived this week as part of an unprecedented deployment to NATO ' s eastern flank aimed at deterring Russia . "The presence of American soldiers in Poland is another step in our strategy to ensure safety and security for Poland .

The three Baltic states , as well as Ukraine, are former Soviet republics that gained independence when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The head of NATO ' s military committee, Czech General Petr Pavel, said Russia was attempting to restore its status as a world power, an effort that included

“The whole idea about defending the Baltic States right now is that you have this tripwire,” Szymanski explained of the idea to integrate NATO-allied troops from Germany, the U.S., and elsewhere with Baltic soldiers.

“If there was a conflict, it would be hard for Russians to attack in a conventional way, in a way that goes around those troops,” he said of the program launched after the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea.

Tobruq Legacy High Commander German Air Force Lt. Col. Thorsten Stratemann declined to tell the Washington Examiner if the challenge was a real concern for NATO, but he acknowledged that deterrence was the best strategy to prevent a Russian surprise invasion.

“I have the feeling and the fear, if we do not try to stop that by doing some kind of deterrence, they could get the idea, ‘Hey, we will be successful if we do this because they are not prepared,’” he said of a hypothetical Russian move to establish a land bridge from Belarus to Kaliningrad.

“If you look at the map, such a potential corridor would be along Vilnius, crossing Lithuania,” he added.

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VILNIUS, Lithuania — Dozens of United States Special Operations forces are now in the Baltics to bolster the training and resolve of troops who are confronting a looming threat from Russia , and to His remarks alarmed the Baltic nations, which count on NATO ’ s collective security efforts to deter an

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The United States is deploying troops to Poland , the Baltic states and Romania next In a separate decision, the members of NATO at a July summit in Warsaw approved the deployment of four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states to deter Russia .

The Lithuanian defense minister emphasized that the U.S. troop presence in the region heightens deterrence, even if strategic gaps exist.

“The presence of U.S. troops, it’s doubling and tripling the deterrence factor, the signaling is very important,” said Karoblis. “Both for the deterrence and the defense factor.”

Tags: News, National Security, Department of Defense, Pentagon, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, NATO, Baltic States

Original Author: Abraham Mahshie

Original Location: US troops in Poland reassure NATO's Baltic States as Russia looms

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