As the first waves of at least 2,000 US troops began arriving in Poland at the start of this week as part of the mission to bolster NATO's 'eastern flank' amid Washington fears that Russia is poised to invade Ukraine "any day now" - the Western military alliance says its mulling a longer term military presence in Eastern Europe.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg indicated Monday that a "longer term" presence may be needed in Eastern Europe and that Brussels is reviewing the strategy as part of its force posture in face of Russia.
"We are considering more longer-term adjustments to our posture, our presence in the eastern part of the alliance. No final decision has been made on that but there is a process now going on within NATO," Stoltenberg said at a press conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Talking 'tough' at a moment France's Macron was seeking a diplomatic breakthrough in his Monday summit with Putin in Moscow, Stoltenberg said, "If Russia really wants less NATO close to the borders, they get the opposite."
This would mean that NATO troops rotated into the region would stay longer, or on a more permanent basis. Stoltenberg described NATO is considering the "deployment of additional battlegroups to the south-eastern part of the Alliance" a reference to Black Sea countries of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
While meeting with President Duda, Poland confirmed that troops from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division began arriving near the country over the weekend, touching down at a base near the Poland-Ukraine border.
Stoltenberg hailed the fresh US deployment as "a powerful demonstration of American commitment to our alliance. Other allies are also contributing more forces to NATO on land, in the air, and at sea." This also as the UK has committed a few hundred additional troops to Poland.
So far, however, a matter of a few thousand extra troops Biden has ordered deployed to Eastern Europe is still just enough for symbolic posturing, and could do little to deter an actual Russian invasion of Ukraine if it ever materialized. The Kremlin has insisted there are no plans for such an offensive.