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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » March 23, 2015
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Poland and U.S. conduct joint patriot missile drill
March 23, 2015   
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A Patriot missile battery from U.S. Army Europe accompanied by 100 U.S. soldiers and 30 vehicles was deployed on Saturday in Sochaczew, close to Warsaw for a joint air and missile defense exercise with Polish troops amid concerns that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is threatening the security in the region.

U.S. troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment trained with its Polish counterparts in the 37th Missile Squadron of Air Defense, testing the Patriot crew's proficiency as well as conducting movement drills which practice the quick emplacement of the air defense systems.

The exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve which began in response to Russia’s armed support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea a year ago.

U.S. Army Europe had said earlier that the aim of the week-long exercise was to "reassure allies, demonstrate freedom of movement and deter regional aggression on the eastern flank of NATO."

U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull, who visited the troops on Saturday along with Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, said that American military guarantees for Poland "mean more than just words on paper," and allow for fast deployment of "one of the most advanced defense systems on our planet" in Poland.

Mull aslo said that the U.S. is always ready to help Poland in times of need.

"We have always been friends and we have been allies for the last 16 years," Siemoniak said. "During this time we have always been by the side of the United States. When we are in need, the United States have firmly stood by our side," he said.

Poland and the United States began air defense cooperation in the late 1990s before Poland's entry into NATO. This included establishment of a partnership by 1999 with Poland's 3rd Air Defense Brigade and U.S. Army Europe's air defense units. Air and missile defense cooperation has intensified in recent years.
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