02:22 GMT29 May 2020
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    Polish authorities are investigating a brawl involving ‒ according to the local prosecutor ‒ at least three US soldiers stationed in the country. The troops allegedly beat a dentist and his two sons.

    The US Army says it is cooperating with the Poles in their investigation. Master Sgt. Nathan Hoskins told Stars & Stripes in an email on Tuesday that the soldiers will remain on duty during the investigation. "We are invited guests of Poland, and the Polish authorities have jurisdiction over any cases like this that occur within their country," Hoskins said. "I can't speculate on whether or not they will release jurisdiction to US authorities."

    Local media reports that the soldiers were pounding on an apartment door late at night when the dentist and his two sons tried to calm things. After a fight broke out, all three of the Polish civilians were injured, and the soldiers fled when an ambulance was called.

    The fight happened some 60 miles from Poznan, the location of the US Army's tactical headquarters, which is responsible for some 5,000 ground troops operating under the ostensible mission of deterring potential aggression from Russia on NATO's eastern border.

    Poland has been pushing for a more permanent presence of US troops. When Polish President Andrzej Duda was in Washington, DC, in September, he publicly floated the idea of his country paying for a US base named "Fort Trump," Sputnik News reported. According to US President Donald Trump, Duda "offered us much more than $2 billion."

    While Trump said he was considering the proposal, some with US military experience think it's a bad idea. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, retired commanding general of the US Army in Europe, wrote in a June op-ed for Politico that such a base would be unnecessarily provocative towards Russia. "Eastern allies believe that the presence of US forces would significantly increase the deterrent effect, because they believe that Russia would never attack and risk a kinetic confrontation with US forces and the possibility of Russians killing Americans," he said.

    But he cautioned that a base in Poland "would give Moscow an easy opportunity to claim that NATO is an aggressor and to somehow respond to protect Russian sovereignty."

    Next month, Poland is poised for war games nicknamed "Anakonda" involving some 10,000 troops from 10 allied countries.


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