Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, welcomed American troops stationed in Poland under the NATO operation “Assurance” on Thursday. “This is very good news not only for Poland, but for the entire region, and also shows consistency in the operation of the Polish government,” she said in a press interview. Both Szydło and Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz have stated that they believe the NATO operations are necessary to protect Poland and the region from alleged Russian threats. Macierewicz said in a report that was published in the Washington Post, that the NATO soldiers “should make Russia forget about threatening Poland.” Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Warsaw, said, “This is the fulfilment of a dream, and this is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability.”
Meanwhile, Russian leadership disagreed. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the BBC that the move – the largest US troop presence in Europe in decades – “threatens our interests and our security.” The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenburg, has maintained that he felt there was no “imminent threat” to from the East. Instead, he stressed that NATO’s “new presence” in Europe was at least partly a response to protect it from threats in the Middle East. In addition to the troops in Żagań, other multinational NATO forces will be placed in Orzysz and nearby Bemowo Pisz. They will be officially welcomed by the Polish PM and Macierewicz on Saturday.