1 of 2 | M1A2 Abrams Tanks belonging to 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division sit in a motor pool in Trzebien, Poland on Wednesday after arriving from Fort Carson, Colo. They will be used by the soldiers as they conduct training in Eastern Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Photo by Staff Sgt. Corinna Baltos/U.S. Army
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Kremlin said the increase of U.S. military presence in Poland as part of an operation to show support for NATO is a threat to Russian security that destabilizes Europe.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland as part of the largest armed military brigade deployed in Europe since the end of the Cold War threatens Russia's "interests and our security," while Alexei Meshkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, said the NATO operation is a "factor destabilizing European security."
The U.S. troops reached Poland on Monday after a three-day journey through Germany. The show of force falls under Operation Atlantic Resolve, designed to show the United States' commitment to its European allies in the face of what NATO sees as Russian aggression.
The U.S. troops will spend about a month training in Poland before moving to Germany and Romania for additional training exercises. The troops will rotate training in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia for the next nine months. The regional training exercises are also designed to test how U.S. forces respond on short notice to a possible conflict with Russia.
The troops from the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Poland will spend the next several days organizing vehicles and conducting maintenance checks to prepare equipment for the next nine months of operation.
On Jan. 20, the troops will begin conducting live-fire exercises.
"The soldiers are excited for gunnery," Capt. Joshua Causie, a member of the U.S. operation, said in a statement. "There is nothing better than being in a tank and shooting big bullets. It's fun."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story described Operation Atlantic Resolve as a NATO operation. It is a U.S.-funded operation intended to support NATO.