US

US troops driving through Poland for defense reassurance get warm welcome

  • A man holding a US flag walks past a US Army Stryker armored vehicle from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, during their stop to meet local residents on the Kosciuszko Market Square in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, a return drive from the Atlantic Resolve exercise designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    A man holding a US flag walks past a US Army Stryker armored vehicle from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, during their stop to meet local residents on the Kosciuszko Market Square in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, a return drive from the Atlantic Resolve exercise designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sgt Robert Snyder from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment waves a scarf with the inscription "Poland" as a group of Stryker armored vehicles stop on the Kosciuszko Market Square to meet residents in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, on their drive back from the Atlantic Resolve exercise. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Sgt Robert Snyder from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment waves a scarf with the inscription "Poland" as a group of Stryker armored vehicles stop on the Kosciuszko Market Square to meet residents in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, on their drive back from the Atlantic Resolve exercise. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • People surround a group of US Army Stryker armored vehicles from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, during a stop on the Kosciuszko Market Square to meet residents, in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, as they drive back from the Atlantic Resolve exercise. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    People surround a group of US Army Stryker armored vehicles from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, during a stop on the Kosciuszko Market Square to meet residents, in Bialystok, Poland, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, as they drive back from the Atlantic Resolve exercise. The "Dragoon Ride" convoy, designed to show NATO's readiness to defend its members, started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland on its way to the base in Germany. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of residents have turned out in eastern Poland for a meeting with a convoy of U.S. troops that is driving through eastern Europe, a region concerned that the armed conflict in Ukraine threatens its security.

Children climbed into the Stryker armored vehicles and residents offered regional souvenirs as the crowd gathered in downtown Bialystok on Tuesday, applauding troops from the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment for their gesture of reassurance to a NATO ally.

"This really means a lot to us," said Zdzislaw Narel. "We see that we are not alone, that there is someone to defend us."

The "Dragoon Ride" convoy started last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia and Lithuania before entering Poland, returning to base in Germany.