WARSAW, Poland — The first joint training exercises in Poland for freshly deployed U.S. troops and their Polish counterparts are underway.

A U.S. armored brigade of 3,500 troops from Fort Carson, Colorado, arrived this month in Zagan, southwestern Poland, as a deterrence force on NATO's eastern flank.

Exercises that started Monday at the Zagan Military Training Area involved land troops, tanks and armored vehicles of the U.S. and Polish armies.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, right, stands in front of a saluting U.S. Army soldier during the opening of joint Polish and U.S. exercise on training fields in Zagan, Poland, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Krzysztof Zatycki)
Polish President Andrzej Duda, right, stands in front of a saluting U.S. Army soldier during the opening of joint Polish and U.S. exercise on training fields in Zagan, Poland, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Krzysztof Zatycki)

Polish President Andrzej Duda, right, salutes a U.S. Army soldier during the opening of joint Polish and U.S. exercise on training fields in Zagan, Poland, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.

Photo Credit: Krzysztof Zatycki/AP

Polish President Andrzej Duda and the U.S. Ambassador Paul Jones observed the training. They stressed that the U.S. troops' presence was strengthening the region's security and also bilateral ties.

Duda said: "God bless Poland, God bless America, God bless American soldiers."

Jones noted that the armored brigade is among the best of the U.S. armed forces.

The force comes as reassurance to nations in the region that are nervous about Russia's growing military activity.