The first of 1,700 US service members to arrive in Poland from Fort Bragg landed Sunday, about 56 miles from the Ukraine border. A C-17 and several other planes delivered troops and equipment, Reuters reports, as well as Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, at a time when tension remains high over the Russian buildup on its border with Ukraine. "Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe," Donahue said. President Biden announced last week that he was sending troops to Poland and Germany.
The flights brought a few dozen troops to Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, per the AP, in the first of the deployments in support of NATO allies. "More planes will be landing in the coming hours," Poland's defense minister said Sunday. "The soldiers will operate in the southeastern part of our country." Mariusz Blaszczak welcomed the US action, saying, "Deterrence and solidarity are the best response to Moscow's aggressive policy, to the aggressive attempt at reconstructing the Russian empire." The US has had about 4,000 troops in Poland since 2017 in response to the increase in Russian military activity. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)