900 US troops are bound for Poland
Analysts see the spot as most likely target of Russian attack on NATO
With US and Russia engaged what some call a new Cold War, some 900 US troops are about to find themselves on its most dangerous front.
The US and NATO confirmed this week that the US will lead a multinational battalion in northeast Poland beginning in April 2017, a strategically crucial location that would put them in the center of hostilities should an armed clash between NATO and Russia break out.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters Wednesday that the American soldiers will be headquartered in Orzysz, Poland, a town which lies only miles from the most likely target of a possible Russian attack against NATO, according to military analysts.
Carter made the remarks while speaking after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He called the unit a “battle-ready battalion task force.”
Russia was quick to criticize the announcement.
In a series of tweets, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, called the deployments “confrontational schemes of military building up in areas along our borders” and threatened retaliation.
“NATO countries understand that these actions will not remain without a response from our side,” he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Monday that about 600 paratroopers from Russia and Belarus conducted a joint exercise near the town of Brest on the Polish-Belarusian border and only miles from where the new troops will be based.
The Suwalki Gap, where the US forces will be located, is a thin stretch of about 60 miles of Polish territory that borders fellow NATO ally Lithuania. It is also bordered on both sides by Russia’s European enclave Kaliningrad and close military ally Belarus.
“It’s a small sliver of land, which, if seized, would allow the Russians to cut-off the Baltic states from the rest of the NATO alliance,” Magnus Nordenman, director of the transatlantic security initiative at the Atlantic Council, told CNN.
He added that such an acti