Almost 5,000 more American troops have poured into the southeastern towns of Poland on the border with western Ukraine since Russia began amassing hundreds of thousands of soldiers along Ukraine’s borders earlier this year.
The movement doubled the number of NATO troops typically stationed here and is now the highest concentration of American forces to move into Poland since the end of World War II. But the Polish people have greeted the visitors less as liberators and more as a welcome curiosity.
Only small groups of the soldiers could be seen based near Rzeszow in camouflaged tent cities in the last week. Many American troops have been staying in the conference center, usually a venue for concerts or events but now a de facto military base hidden behind metal blockades meant to both hide the soldiers’ activities and keep onlookers out.
But the Americans are making themselves known in other ways, especially as security tightens and the situation along Ukraine’s eastern, northern and southern borders deteriorate. Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, 435th Air Wing and other divisions are now located across the country on a mission to “deter and assure” according to official sources.
The owner of a gastropub in the center of town reported having to search the entire town for a replenishment of pork ribs after the American soldiers cleaned them out last week. Some local hotels have been completely booked up, while a surprising number of large buses can be seen parked en masse or driving across the region with an American soldier sitting in front with presumably many more in the back.–Agencies