In this file photo taken on June 16, 2017 American Soldiers are seen during NATO Saber Strike military exercises in Orzysz, Poland. / AFP / -
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Some 18,000 troops from 19 mostly NATO countries began annual U.S.-led military exercises in Poland and the Baltic states on Sunday to boost combat readiness on the alliance's eastern flank as it faces an increasingly assertive Russia.The eighth Saber Strike maneuvers, which run until June 15, come after it was revealed Poland is considering a proposal to welcome a permanent deployment of U.S. troops to the country.The U.S. has ramped up its presence on NATO's eastern flank and notably Poland since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.The United States leads a multi-national NATO battle group in Poland. The U.S. army also set up a new European headquarters in Poland in May 2017 to command some 6,000 of its troops deployed in NATO and Pentagon operations in the region.
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