Number of US troops in Europe highest since Cold War
The number of US troops stationed in Europe has reached 100 thousand, the highest level since the end of the Cold War, said the White House National Security Council spokesman. John Kirby also stated that they were in close contact with their allies in Eastern Europe in particular and were paying special attention to events taking place in Belarus, which could pose a threat to Poland. Meanwhile, the Polish army is growing stronger, currently ranking the 20th in the world, ahead of Germany and Canada.
The number of US soldiers deployed in Europe has reached 100 thousand – a number not seen since the end of the Cold War, said the White House National Security Council spokesman. John Kirby also noted that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has increased US military presence in the allied European countries – particularly along NATO’s eastern flank – by over 20 thousand troops.
He added that the White House has put in place processes to keep a significant presence there for the long haul, stressing that Washington is prepared to send further contingents if there were additional demands from allies, The European Conservative points out, noting that
discussing the security situation on NATO’s eastern flank, Mr Kirby condemned the “provocative actions” and “bellicose, pugilistic rhetoric” that is coming out of Belarus and reassured the audience that the US is ready to defend „every inch of NATO territory” and that it takes its commitment to Article 5 very seriously.
Mr Kirby also stated that Washington remains in close contact with Warsaw, and that for the Poles, the Belarusian threats are not merely rhetorical exercises but a constant reality.
For these reasons, the US is paying special attention to what is happening in Belarus, especially since a contingent of Wagner fighters appeared in the country following their leader’s failed coup attempt.
Poland is not the only country that has been wary of a possible Wagner-led invasion from Belarus since the coup. On Wednesday, Lithuania closed down two of its six border crossing points with the country, citing „geopolitical circumstances”.
Latvia has only two operational crossings left with Belarus, while Poland has closed down all but one in recent months. Warsaw also announced last week that it would move 10 thousand additional troops to strengthen its eastern border with the country.
Meanwhile, the Polish army is also growing stronger, currently ranking 20th in the world, according to the June edition of the Global Firepower military statistics website, which assesses the military potential of 145 countries, RMX News points out.
Iran, Israel and Vietnam are directly ahead of Poland in the ranking while Poland is ahead of Spain, Germany and Canada. The United States is ranked first and Russia is second.
Compared to the beginning of 2022, Poland has moved up four places. Factors contributing to the improvement include Poland’s acquisition of equipment and the modernization of its army, which was stepped up following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It is noteworthy that Polish defence spending has increased by around 160 per cent over the past eight years. From a level of 40 billion zloty (9 billion euros), Poland’s annual defence spending has now reached 100 billion zloty (22.4 billion euros). Currently, the Polish government spends at least 3 per cent of the country’s GDP on defence.
Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has also announced that the Polish army plans to increase its numbers to 300 thousand soldiers, compared to an estimated 170 thousand troops today.