The US sees Moscow's gas pipeline projects as a geopolitical tool and aims to secure Poland's borders to counter growing Russian influence in central Europe.

Under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the US and Poland recently engaged in a joint military drill, a posturing aimed at sending a message to Russia — that the Central European state bordering Belarus and Ukraine is ready to scuttle Moscow's Eurocentric geopolitical ambitions.

Three days ago, the Financial Times reported that the US is going to send 1,000 more troops as part of the redeployment plan from Germany to Poland. About 38,600 Americans are stationed in Germany, which is also home to numerous US installations, including Ramstein Air Base and five of the other seven Europe-based US military garrisons. 

The move comes at a time when Poland-based military drills named Defender Europe, a US- led multinational exercise which includes NATO, has taken place along with the largest deployment of US forces to Europe.

This added show of military solidarity complemented Poland's diplomatic efforts to mount pressure on Russia, and goes some way to addressing the dangers posed by Moscow's construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.   

The Trump administration has many times displayed a growing frustration with Germany over the country's failure to meet NATO's defence spending requirements as well as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction, which is set to export Russia's natural gas to Germany bypassing Central and Eastern European countries.

''The control of the oil and gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 across the Baltic Sea is a de facto  instrument of Russian domination in the region," Artur Kasprzyk, a security expert at the Polish Institute of International Relations in Warsaw, told TRT World last June. 

Moscow's efforts to influence Western countries and to isolate Central Europe simultaneously have been quite successful, what with Russia gradually making inroads into Europe. Within the EU-bloc, countries like Italy and Germany have gravitated more towards Russia on several foreign policy matters rather than towards their NATO allies.

Will the completion of Nord Stream 2 also affect the transatlantic relationship? 

American leadership, which includes President Donald Trump, Secretary Pompeo and the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, have many times called the Nord Stream II pipeline a tool of political leverage, warming firms involved in the construction of sanctions.

Meanwhile, Putin's views on the outbreak of World War II have continued unabated from the Russian official statements and state media channels which were seeking to shift wartime blame on Poland, attempting to focus more on the Soviet role in the anti-Hitler coalition.

In a nine-thousand-word essay written for The National Interest magazine, the Russian President argued that the 1940s annexation of the Baltic States and occupation of Poland, ''were implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the state authorities."

The Polish leadership reacted angrily and in their diplomatic and official statements- loaded with the heaviest criticism- condemned Putin's arguments, saying the essay was another step Russia has taken as part of its information war against Poland.  

The US State Department issued a belated response rejecting Putin's essay and assertions on the annexation of the Baltic States.

"The United States stands against Russia's attempts to promote Russia's view on the occupation and annexation of Central and Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union in 1940," Pompeo said on Wednesday. 

"We stand firmly against any attempts by Russia to rewrite history in order to justify its military invasion on Eastern Europe and Central.”

With his essay on wartime history, Putin wanted to win the hearts and minds of Western conservatives, and whitewash Stalin's legacy as part of Russian information warfare against Poland, according to the Polish government. 

Putin's history essay came in the midst of US-led military drills in Central Europe. 

"This essay is an element of Russian foreign policy. Moscow hopes to wedge the countries. The Kremlin has many times humiliated the government in Warsaw," said Grzegorz Kuczynski, a Russian analyst at Warsaw-based think-tank Warsaw Institute. 

"'Russia's aggressive posturing in the Western press is also a response to recent activity the Polish government has undertaken as part of its national security strategy: the import of LNG from the United States, the construction of the Baltic Pipe which is aimed at a diversification of energy resources, recent NATO troops redeployments and the construction plans of the Vistula Spit which runs along Poland’s northeastern coastline."

Moscow is keeping a close tab on the military partnerships that are shaping up on Polish soil.

In July, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, immediately slammed Poland saying that Warsaw risked 'the status of a frontline state.' 

''They probably realise that the costs associated with this include their own security,'' he said.

For regional observers, Moscow's response cannot be meek in light of fast changing military equations in Poland.    

"Russia can carry out a mobilisation on Kaliningrad or involve a more threatening posturing near Poland's border, but it's clear that the growth of security cooperation between the US and Poland remains a concern for Moscow," Samuel Ramani, a security expert on Russia and the Middle East, told TRT World.

Source: TRT World