Poland Hails ‘Historic’ U.S.-Led NATO Battalion Launch

Friday, April 14, 2017
By Paul Martin

14 Apr 2017

ORZYSZ (POLAND) (AFP) – Poland’s president on Thursday hailed the launch of a US-led NATO multinational battalion in an area of his country bordering Russia’s heavily militarised Kaliningrad exclave as an “historic moment”.

The battalion is one of four NATO is deploying for the first time to Poland and the Baltic states as tripwires against Russian adventurism on its eastern flank, a region formerly under Moscow’s control and spooked by its actions in Ukraine.

“Generations of Poles have waited for this moment since the end of World War II, generations that dreamt of being part of the just, united, democratic and truly free West,” President Andrzej Duda said at ceremonies in the northeastern Polish town of Orzysz.

Poland joined NATO in 1999, a decade after it peacefully shed communism as the Iron Curtain fell in 1989.

Speaking alongside Duda, NATO Supreme Allied Commander US General Curtis Scaparrotti called the deployment “a clear demonstration of NATO’s unity and resolve and sends a clear message to any potential aggressor.”

“You now form NATO’s eastern flank,” he told troops.

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