During tensions, U.S. airborne infantry forces arrive in Poland



A few dozen elite troops and their equipment from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division landed near the Ukrainian border in southeastern Poland.

Hundreds more infantry troops of the 82nd Airborne Division are still expected to arrive at the Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Poland’s border with Ukraine. A U.S. Army Boeing C-17 Globemaster plane carried a few dozen troops as well as vehicles.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue was their commander, and he was the last American soldier who left Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2001.

“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,” Donahue said at the airport.

In Warsaw, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak hailed the deployment, saying that “deterrence and solidarity are the best response to Moscow’s aggressive policy, to the aggressive attempt at reconstructing the Russian empire.”

Russia has some 100,000 troops stationed at the border with Ukraine. Some of these soldiers are for joint military exercises in Belarus. But Russia insists it doesn’t intend to invade Ukraine.

A collective response by NATO members is “the best response to a threat, the only method of assuring security to Poland and to other NATO countries on the alliance’s eastern flank,” Blaszczak said.

He stated that he had held numerous talks with U.S. Secretary Of Defense Lloyd Austin on the subject.

Biden ordered additional U.S. troops deployed to Poland, Romania and Germany to demonstrate to both allies and foes America’s commitment to NATO’s eastern flank amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine. NATO’s eastern member Poland is bordered by both Russia and Ukraine. Romania borders Ukraine.

It can deploy quickly within 18 hours and carry out parachute attacks to secure key objectives. The history of the division, which is based in Fort Bragg North Carolina, dates back to 1917.

In preparation for the arrival at the airport of part of the division, U.S. aircraft brought equipment and logistic troops earlier in the week.

According to Maj. Przemyslaw lipczynski (a spokesperson for the Polish Army’s 18th Mechanized Division), Polish soldiers previously worked with the U.S. Division in Iraq and Afghanistan on missions and also trained together.

As a security precaution in the face Russia’s increasing military activity, some 4,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Poland on an annual basis since 2017.


This story has been corrected to state that only a handful of troops, and not hundreds, arrived on Sunday.


Follow all AP stories about tensions over Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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