Leaders in most Eastern European nations are just short of jubilant after NATO created a rapid-reaction "spearhead" force to protect the region from Russian bullying.

But some who spent decades under the Soviet yoke — politicians and ordinary people — fear that the move could enrage Moscow and leave them feeling less secure.

Poland, the region's largest country, has pushed for a large, permanent deployment of at least two divisions of NATO troops on its territory. It won something less — a new, rapid-reaction force of some 5,000 troops, a "spearhead" ready to deploy to any conflict zone in a matter of hours.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk says he had hoped for more, but insists: "This signal is very strong and our Eastern neighbor (Russia) cannot ignore it."