First US troops arrive in Poland

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

A plane carrying the first US soldiers landed in Jasionka near Rzeszow in southern Poland on Saturday as part of the West's reaction to Russia's aggressive stance towards Ukraine.

According to the Polish defence ministry, around 1,700 US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are expected to arrive in Poland in order to strengthen Nato's eastern flank.

The first plane, Beechcraft C-12 Huron, carried just a handful of soldiers.

According to spokesman for Poland's 18th Mechanised Division, Przemyslaw Lipczynski, the plane carried members of the preparatory group and some commanders.

Two planes were expected to land in Jasionka on Saturday, but the second one that will carry a bigger transport of US soldiers has been rescheduled to Sunday, according to Lipczynski.

"We're expecting the arrival of soldiers at about 11:30 on Sunday," Lipczynski said.

On Friday, eight planes with equipment and logistics landed in Jasionka.

Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine and has demanded concessions from Nato, including assurances the bloc will not accept any new eastern members. Nato has rejected the Kremlin's demands.

About 4,500 US soldiers are currently stationed in Poland, both as part of Nato and under bilateral agreements.