This is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability, part of a larger commitment by President Barack Obama to protect the region. Poland and the Baltic states also feel threatened by Russia’s recent deployment of nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, the Russian territory wedged between Poland and Lithuania.
Russia immediately reacted after the Americans’ arrival in Poland. “These actions threaten our interests, our security,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. Previously, American plans for a major U.S. missile defense system in Poland were abandoned under Russia’s pressure. Thinking to the future American administration geopolitical vision, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski expressed hope this week that any new effort at reconciliation with Russia “does not happen at our expense.” Other American units will be deployed soon across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria.