As eastern Ukraine remains gripped by violence, NATO forces are readying their troops.
Over the past three days, alliance soldiers have been engaged in military drills to prepare for a possible invasion of a member country.
“It’s not only the army’s job to fight subversive elements and terrorists. First they should be dealt with by border guards and police. Then we would use special units of military gendarmerie. Our countries are now upgrading the legal basis for fighting “the little green men,” said Commander Lieutenant-General Marek Tomaszycki.
That’s a reference to the soldiers in green uniform involved in the annexation of Crimea earlier this year.
They wore no insignia identifying which army they were from.
“As you can see we wear regular uniforms with our insignia, be it Polish, American or German insignia. We do not hide, we are proper soldiers. We do not threaten, we only protect,” said Germany’s Hans-Lothar Domröse, the commander of the Allied Joint Force Command.
12,500 soldiers from eight allied countries and Poland took part in the drill in the north of Poland.
The exercises were held after leaders decided at a recent NATO summit to boost military training and presence on the alliance’s eastern flank.
“What you saw coming out of Wales was the determination by the alliance to assure its members that it can deter Russian aggression. The alliance is now more serious about collective defence, under Article Five (of the North Atlantic Treaty, than I’ve seen for very long time,” added US Lieutenant General Frederick Hodges.