Polish MoD: There are chances to increase US forces' eastern presence

Mariusz Błaszczak in Tallin PAP/Jakub Borowski

The efforts to increase the US military presence on NATO's eastern flank have been generating positive signals, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said in Tallinn on Saturday.

"We've been making efforts, we and our allies from the eastern flank, to increase the US forces' presence in our part of Europe," said the defence minister.

"Yesterday I talked to my Romanian counterpart in Warsaw, the goals are the same, the work, including my visits to the United States, the talks have generated the first signals that the US Congress, and in this case the Senate, is very serious about increasing the number of US troops in Poland and additionally about making their stationing more permanent," Mariusz Błaszczak said.

Ian Brzezinski, son of US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, drew attention on Twitter on Friday to moves by the US Senate Armed Services Committee to permanently station a brigade combat team in Poland.

While in Tallinn, Błaszczak talked to his Estonian counterpart, Juri Luik and the country's chief of staff. The Polish minister said the meetings had concerned "our cooperation within NATO, plans to strengthen NATO's eastern flank, the Alliance's upcoming summit and our stance."

The minister also highlighted Poland's centenary of regaining its independence and a related visit to Tallinn by Poland's training ship Dar Młodzieży, which is on a 10-month Independence Cruise to 22 ports in 18 countries.

Upon leaving Tallinn, the ship will travel to Copenhagen. 

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, the United States embarked on an initiative to increase its presence in Europe (European Reassurance Initiative - ERI), of which a part is operation Atlantic Resolve, which ensures a constant rotating US military presence both in Europe and in those regions where previously no significant US forces had been stationed. In May 2017, the American element of the mission command was moved from Germany to Poznań (western Poland). 

Within the framework of strengthening NATO's eastern flank, multi-national NATO battalions have also been deployed to the region.