Warsaw, Poland — The United States showed solidarity towards Poland, as tanks and soldiers from the US Army participated in the annual military parade in Warsaw, on Monday. This is believed to be a symbolic representation of the US military’s involvement in a region influenced by an overwhelming Russian presence.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the US Army commander in Europe, said his troops joining Poland’s Armed Force Day was a clear message that the US wants to have an increased presence in Poland and elsewhere in the region. He told reporters,
“Poland got a look of what they are going to see a lot of in the future — a US Army presence that is substantial and is going to be ongoing.”
The parade went past government buildings, a presidential palace and the Russian embassy. This is not the first time the US Army has bolstered the Polish army with its presence. It is the third consecutive year in which the US troops participated in the Armed Forces Day parade. However, this is the first year in which the American tanks took part in the parade.
The US Army influence is going to build up in the future, with a deployment of 4500-soldier brigade to be stationed in the Polish headquarters early next year. United States Ambassador to Poland Paul Jones remarked,
“What people saw in this parade will be seen all across Poland next year.”
The Armed Forces Day parade is a national holiday in Poland, held every August 15 to commemorate Poland’s victory over Russian Bolsheviks in 1920.
The NATO and US involvement in Poland come in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. NATO also has plans to send four multinational battalions of 1000 soldiers each to four countries – Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.