Polish leaders have welcomed a new multinational NATO battalion to Poland, with the president calling it "a historic moment for my country."

The near-permanent deployment of a NATO battalion under U.S. command marks the first time NATO troops have been placed so close to Russian territory, a step that Kremlin denounces as a threat to its own security.

But Polish President Andrzej Duda described the deployment for Poles as a symbol of liberation and inclusion into the Western democratic world. At a ceremony in Orzysz, Duda said: "it's not an exaggeration to say that generations of Poles have waited for this moment since the end of the Second World War."

The NATO deployment is separate from a U.S. battalion of 3,500 that arrived in Poland earlier in the year.