WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and US officials attended a ceremony on Tuesday to officially strengthen the US military presence in NATO member Poland amid the war in neighboring Ukraine.
More than 10,000 American soldiers are stationed in the former communist bloc country. They were part of Area Support Group Poland, which has now been upgraded to become the US Army’s first garrison on NATO’s eastern flank – a decision announced by President Joe Biden at last year’s summit of 30 NATO members.
The US already has five army garrisons in Germany, one in Belgium and one in Italy.
“We greatly appreciate that US troops are permanently stationed in our country,” Blaszczak said. “It is very important that the western world remains united.”
“This is good news for the security of Poland and NATO’s eastern flank,” Blaszczak added at the ceremony in Poznan, western Poland.
He said Poland’s cooperation with the US is “exemplary” and aimed at interoperability between the armed forces of both countries.
A part of the US troops monitors military support offered to Ukraine by other countries.
Many thousands of US troops have been stationed in Poland and other nations on NATO’s eastern flank for years as a deterrent, but their numbers and role have increased significantly as Russia’s war against Ukraine enters its second year.
The garrison is based in the Kosciuszko camp
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