The first 350 British marines have flown into Poland to bolster Nato’s eastern flank amid tensions over a Russian military build-up around Ukraine.
The troops from 45 Commando Royal Marines arrived in Warsaw on Thursday morning.
“Soldiers from Great Britain are coming to Poland,” Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said, adding that he had arranged for their deployment during his visit to London on Monday.
“In the course of my talks with my (British – PAP) counterpart, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary in Her Majesty’s government, we agreed that 350 British marines would strengthen the forces of Great Britain stationed in Poland,” Błaszczak said, adding that the marines would “significantly strengthen security on the eastern flank of Nato.”
“After the American troops that have come to Poland, now British soldiers are coming,” he continued. “We treat that fact as an expression of solidarity from the countries forming the North Atlantic Alliance.”
There are now around 600 British troops in Poland, with most stationed around Orzysz in the north-eastern Warmian-Masurian province, forming part of Nato’s Advanced Forward Presence multinational battle-group.
Błaszczak said the UK had also sent a 100-strong engineering unit to support Polish soldiers on the Belarusian border, where Poland has been tackling a migration crisis.
The US has also sent 2,000 troops to Poland and Germany, of which 1,700 soldiers of the elite 82nd Airborne Division have been deployed to Poland.
Błaszczak added that Polish troops had been deployed to Nato’s multinational forces in Latvia and Romania.